14:00 – Real Madrid missing ‘best in the world’ Ronaldo, says Marcelo
Cristiano Ronaldo remains a significant loss to Real Madrid, according to his former teammate Marcelo.
The Brazil international told reporters after Los Blancos 4-1 win over Girona that a sizeable void remains following Ronaldo’s switch to Juventus last month.
He said: “[Ronaldo] is the best in the world.
“It’s obvious that you miss playing with him but Bale and Benzema are really good, too.”
8.40: Lopetegui praises Real Madrid’s mentality after Girona win
Real came undone at the Montilivi last season, beaten 2-1 despite taking an early lead, but refused to allow a repeat in their second Primera Division outing under the former Spain boss.
Borja Garcia’s fine finish hinted at history repeating itself but the visitors responded with four unanswered goals to take the points.
Two penalties either side of half-time – a nerveless ‘Panenka’ from Sergio Ramos and something more conventional from Karim Benzema – reversed the lead before Gareth Bale’s strike and a second of the game from the French forward.
The duo played prominent roles for Croatia and France respectively in Russia as both their nations reached the final, and the Madrid boss is keen to take his time introducing them back into the fold domestically.
“They have the handicap of almost 20 more days without rest compared to their teammates, but these players will start games soon enough,” Lopetegui told reporters.
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The Whites face Girona in La Liga this evening (12.15am kick-off UAE time) and we’ll be building up to that clash.
11am – The Whites are getting ready Girona
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10.30am – Thibaut Courtois conundrum rumbles on
Will Thibaut Courtois finally get his debut for Real Madrid? Julen Lopetegui may be wise to stick to his guns, argues Chris Bailey.