Thibaut Courtois to end long wait for Real Madrid debut against Leganes

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Thibaut Courtois will make his long-awaited debut for Real Madrid tonight against Leganes (UAE: 22:45), Marca report.

Courtois – handed the Golden Glove for his superb displays with Belgium at the World Cup this summer – has yet to play a minute for his new club since arriving in a 35 million deal from Chelsea.

However, Julen Lopetegui has now decided to jettison Keylor Navas, who will feel hard done by given his faultless displays for Los Blancos so far this season.

Navas also received an award for being named the Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season on Thursday – but just 48 hours later he is set to play second fiddle to Courtois.

Despite their setback against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, the domestic season has started brightly for Lopetegui’s new regime, having secured back-to-back victories against Getafe and Girona.

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Borja Mayoral says see you later to Real Madrid - but not goodbye

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The return of one striker to Real Madrid has meant the departure of another, as Borja Mayoral penned a farewell after accepting a loan spell at Levante.

Mariano Diaz returned to the Bernabeu after one year away at Lyon as a deputy to Karim Benzema, and Julen Lopetegui has decreed that Mayoral is best off somewhere else – for now.

The 21-year-old did not get many minutes under Zinedine Zidane last season but was fairly productive when given the chance, scoring seven goals in 24 appearances with many of those coming off the bench.

Mayoral has been out on loan before – scoring just two goals in 2016/17 with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg – but he remains confident that he can become a star for Los Blancos in the future.

“Today I say goodbye to what will always be my home. It’s not a goodbye, but rather a ‘see you later’. Since I’ve returned, I have expressed myself with a ball at my feet, that is what I do best, but now I will use words,” wrote Mayoral on Twitter.

“I have many ideas in my head on how best to express the feelings I have for Real Madrid, but I want to say thank you: to the club workers, my teammates, socios, and fans. It’s here that I have formed as a person and as a professional and I have completed many of my dreams since I was a canterano. Now, it’s time to take another path.

To grow and learn, you need to play. And the best way of doing so, is for me to leave the club in search of the minutes I can’t have at Madrid. I wish all the luck in the world to this club! From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Hala Madrid!”

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Mariano Diaz signing completes Real Madrid squad, says Julen Lopetegui

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Mariano Diaz was unveiled at the Bernabeu on Friday.

Julen Lopetegui is happy with the state of his Real Madrid squad as Mariano Diaz is primed to make his second debut against Leganes.

Diaz is back at the Bernabeu just 12 months after joining Lyon, returning for €30 million and taking Cristiano Ronaldo‘s number seven shirt.

Lopetegui confirmed there would be no other arrivals on the European transfer deadline day.

He said at a press conference: “Mariano’s arrival will complete our squad.

“I don’t think there’ll be any last-minute deals and we’re satisfied and happy with the team we have.

“We’ll try and get the very best out of the players that are here and I believe the market could close earlier in future so that we could all focus a bit more on what we’re doing.”

Diaz made nine substitute appearances for Real before joining Ligue 1 side Lyon, for whom he scored 20 goals last season.

He will fancy his chances of getting his second spell in the Spanish capital off to a winning start against Leganes, who have taken one point from their opening two LaLiga games.

Lopetegui added: “They have just one point but could have six because they played well against Real Sociedad and Athletic.

“They’ve kicked off the season looking good. They’re sure to be tough opposition, well organised, with better players than last season and they’ll certainly make life difficult for us.

“We’re moving forward. We’ve been working together for a while now and that’s evident in our play.

“We have to keep progressing and improving in many aspects, both in attack and defence.

“But I think the team is doing all they can to work for each other, which is exactly the kind of atmosphere we want to encourage.”

Leganes, managed by former Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino, are unable to pick Madrid loanees Andriy Lunin and Oscar Rodriguez to play against their parent club, while Ezequiel Munoz is a doubt.

Pellegrino accepts it will be a different task facing Real Madrid this year.

He told a press conference: “It’s a Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo but it’s still Real Madrid.

“Football is a team sport where luckily there’s something more important than individuality, which is trying to play with 11 players connected.

“I see a Madrid a little differently today to the previous year in the sense that they occupy the field in a more rational, not so chaotic way.

“It is a tremendous team.”

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