Zinedine Zidane again reiterated there is no problem between himself and Gareth Bale after recalling the winger for Real Madrid's 4-1 win at Osasuna.

Madrid extended their lead at the top of LaLiga to six points ahead of Barcelona's trip to Real Betis as they prevailed in a feisty encounter at El Sadar.

Unai Garcia headed the hosts into a 14th-minute lead but Isco volleyed in his first league goal of the campaign and Sergio Ramos edged Madrid in front before the break.

Substitutes Lucas Vazquez and Luka Jovic added gloss to the scoreline late on, the former having replaced the recalled Bale 20 minutes from time.

The Wales star passed up a pair of half-chances before having a hand in Isco's equaliser and Zidane was impressed by his efforts without the ball, during what was at times a gruelling contest.

"He is an important player, he has shown it," Zidane told reporters afterwards.

"He has not played the last three games and has made 70 very good minutes defensively.

"Then, the problem is that they want us to have a problem with Gareth, but there is not one.

"There are many players, it’s not easy to manage all that. He’s a very important player, he’s always shown it and he’ll keep playing, like the others."

Asked again about Bale's performance, Zidane added: "He has done well. I am happy for his game, offensively and defensively he has given everything.

"He was a bit short physically at the end, so he has left the field. We know the player he is and that he is going to give a lot from now until the end of the season. Let's count on Gareth."

Jovic is another player who has not always found favour with his boss and the former Eintracht Frankfurt striker's fabulous left-footed finish marked only a second LaLiga goal, and his first since October.

"I'm glad for him, I needed him, he is a pure striker of whom you can say many things," Zidane said.

"He plays well, but if he does not score a goal he is not happy. He has to improve, but I'm glad for his goal. It will come in handy."

Eden Hazard was absent once more, with the Belgium playmaker running out of time to prove his fitness before the Champions League clash with Manchester City at the end of this month.

"It's a thing we do together," Zidane explained when discussing the management of Hazard's recovery from a fractured ankle.

"It wasn't the time today again and we'll see this week. He's going to need this week, it's going to be long. We're going to see him next week, I hope."

Zinedine Zidane described Luka Jovic as the future of Real Madrid ahead of what is likely to be an important test for the striker in the Supercopa de Espana.

With Karim Benzema injured and Gareth Bale ill, Jovic is likely to lead the Madrid attack in Wednesday's semi-final against Valencia in Jeddah.

It could be a key step for the 22-year-old, who has struggled for regular first-team football since joining from Eintracht Frankfurt for a reported €60million fee last June.

Jovic has started just four competitive matches under Zidane, with his only goal coming in the 5-0 LaLiga win over Leganes at the Santiago Bernabeu on October 30.

Zidane has been reported to be unconvinced by Jovic's potential but, speaking on Tuesday, the Madrid head coach made it clear that is not the case.

"The feelings are good, despite the absences. There's a very big squad and the rest are here to respond," he told reporters.

"Jovic is an obvious option. He is the future. He has to be calm. He is learning.

"He's a boy who wants to learn a lot. He's very good. He'll get a lot of goals. We've backed him and you have to be calm with him."

Madrid ended a run of three consecutive draws, which included a trip to Valencia that finished 1-1, with a 3-0 win at Getafe prior to heading out to Saudi Arabia for the first expanded Supercopa tournament.

Zidane's men are on a 14-match unbeaten streak and have kept clean sheets in four of their past six games in all competitions.

The former France star says their improvement in defence makes them a formidable opponent given their consistent threat in attack.

"We adapt to everything and now we're here to play a Supercopa match," he said.

"Every game is different. Valencia also have absences. Our mentality doesn't change at all. We're happy to be able to play in this competition.

"In order to attack well, you have to defend well, and that's what we're doing. If we're strong at the back and we don't let in many goals, we have the quality to cause problems for any opposition."

Luka Jovic will return to the Serbia squad for their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Norway in March after a "misunderstanding" was resolved, the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) announced on Monday.

The Real Madrid striker was released from international duty in September citing an injury, only to then feature for his club in LaLiga four days later.

Serbia head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic was reportedly irked, and Jovic has not played for his country since.

However, with a key clash against Norway coming up on March 26, FSS sporting director Vladimir Matijasevic and Tumbakovic have held meetings with Jovic to get one of their star men back on board.

"First FSS sporting director Matijasevic and then coach Tumbakovic have had a meeting with Serbian national team player Luka Jovic over the past few days, after which it is clear the Real Madrid striker is absolutely ready to be available in March matches," the FSS posted on its Twitter page.

"On both sides, everything that needed to be said was said, the misunderstanding was resolved and, most importantly, the conclusion was that everyone agreed that Serbia's interest was above all.

"Qualification for the European Championship was a common goal."

Jovic netted in a qualifying win against Lithuania in June but has scored only once in LaLiga since his €60million move from Eintracht Frankfurt to Madrid ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Zinedine Zidane said Real Madrid will "absolutely not" sign a striker in January following another toothless display against Athletic Bilbao.

Madrid failed to score in back-to-back games after playing out a 0-0 LaLiga draw with Athletic at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Toni Kroos and Nacho hit the crossbar either side of half-time, before substitute striker Luka Jovic was also denied by the base of the post with four minutes remaining.

Karim Benzema has shouldered the goalscoring load for Madrid this season with 12 LaLiga goals and 16 across all competitions, while big-money off-season recruit Jovic has only found the back of the net once since arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt.

However, Madrid head coach Zidane dismissed the possibility of attacking reinforcements as Los Blancos look to dethrone LaLiga champions Barcelona this term.

Asked if he would request a new striker, Zidane replied: "No. Absolutely not, I don't see the need to sign a striker."

The stalemate against Athletic is the fifth time Madrid have fired a blank in LaLiga this season, with Zidane's men two points behind leaders Barca heading into 2020.

"I'm annoyed by this," Zidane said. "My players have left everything on the pitch. "I'm looking at the positives and the good thing is that we're doing well. Three points from nine [available in the last three games] isn't much.

"As always, when we play a game like we did and have chances [to score], I'm annoyed for the players. For the effort that we put in, we're annoyed that we didn't score the chances that we had.

"If you have chances, you have to score them, and we've had lots of the ball in the last three games and very few goals. It's not bad luck or [a lack of] conviction - the important thing is creating chances.

"We created so many chances... we're going to continue; it's going to go in [eventually]. Now it's not going in, but we can't let our heads drop. We have to think that it's been a very good year.

"We're ending a bit flat but we're looking forward to starting 2020. I don't think [the lack of goals] is a problem, but everyone has their own opinion. We're calm. What we've done in the last four or five months was good."

Arsenal appear to have strengthened their interest in Nuno Espirito Santo.

Just over two weeks after dismissing Unai Emery, the Gunners are reportedly ready to hold talks with one of the top contenders to take over at Emirates Stadium.

But the Portuguese is not alone when it comes to candidates with Premier League experience.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS STEP UP NUNO CHASE

Arsenal will ask Wolves for permission to conduct formal discussions with Nuno next week, according to the Daily Mail.

The north Londoners are reportedly ready to "set to accelerate their interest" in the 45-year-old former Valencia and Porto head coach.

Belgium boss Robert Martinez is also said to have been approached, while Mauricio Pochettino, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira continue to be linked.

Freddie Ljungberg has overseen two draws, a defeat and a solitary victory since taking charge on an interim basis.

ROUND-UP

- Like his former employers, ex-Arsenal boss Emery will not be rushed into a decision on his next move. Marca says the Spaniard has turned down the chance to speak to two Chinese clubs and managerless Everton since becoming a free agent on November 29.

- Premier League champions Manchester City hope to bring wantaway winger Jadon Sancho back to the Etihad Stadium after losing him to Borussia Dortmund in 2017, reports the Daily Mail.

- On the outer at Chelsea, Olivier Giroud appears to be moving closer to the Stamford Bridge exit door. L'Equipe claims the France striker is close to agreeing personal terms on a January switch to Inter, where he would reunite with Antonio Conte.

- Serie A side Milan will be offered the chance to sign Luka Jovic on loan from Real Madrid in January, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

- Barcelona will listen to offers of €10million for teenage defender Jean-Clair Todibo, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Spanish newspaper claims Bayer Leverkusen, Milan, Monaco, Southampton and Watford have submitted bids.

- Real Betis have sealed a deal to sign former Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, according to Deportes Cuatro.

Zinedine Zidane joked his Real Madrid side would have no issues beating last season's winners Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The LaLiga giants had already secured their knockout berth before their 3-1 win over Club Brugge on Wednesday and can now turn their attention to the draw for the next stage, which takes place on Monday.

Hans Vanaken cancelled out Rodrygo Goes' opener within the space of two second-half minutes, but a first Champions League goal for Vinicius Junior and a sublime strike from Luka Modric sealed all three points for Zidane's side.

Madrid finished second in Group A, five points behind Paris Saint-Germain, which means they will be drawn against the winners of another group, potentially Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Asked if the Reds were a team to be avoided, Zidane smiled and said: "If we play Liverpool, we will eliminate them."

More soberly, he added: "We can't do anything about the draw."

Madrid were far from their best in Belgium but Zidane insists he was happy with his side's performance.

"We are happy with the victory and with the way we played," he said. "We had difficulty with our game since they usually play with five at the back and, today, they played with four.

"It took 10 or 15 minutes for the players to adjust. The second half was better in every area."

Luka Jovic was chosen to start in attack alongside Rodrygo and Vinicius, but the Serbian was again unable to make an impression.

He has still scored just one goal in Madrid colours since his move from Eintracht Frankfurt, and Zidane concedes the striker needs more playing time to find his groove.

"I don't think he feels lost," the Frenchman said. "He has played little and a player needs to play a lot to be well. 

"I think he has done well and has to continue working as he does. It's a problem of mine, it's not yours. He needs to continue working and, every time he plays, respond. 

"It's not easy because he doesn't play much, but knows the situation. He needs to play, it's true."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane commended an inspirational display from Karim Benzema in Wednesday's 5-0 thrashing of Leganes, highlighting how the forward offers much more than just goals.

Benzema has enjoyed a fine start to the season, picking up where he left off last term and he took his tally to seven in LaLiga against Leganes.

But that goal – a second-half penalty – was only part of the story, as the Frenchman set up Rodrygo Goes and then Toni Kroos in the first eight minutes.

As such, he moved on to 10 goal involvements for the season, more than any other player in LaLiga and Zidane was unsurprisingly delighted.

"Karim as always, doesn't change much," Zidane told reporters. "It's important that he scores because he needs that as the number nine of Madrid.

"But he contributes much more than goals and does better for others. I am happy with his performance."

Luka Jovic rounded off the scoring late on with his first goal for the club in 10 matches, heading in from Dani Carvajal's cross.

Zidane was pleased for him after a difficult start to life at the Santiago Bernabeu, while he also applauded Rodrygo's improvement.

"The truth is I am happy for both of them," Zidane added. "Rodrygo has personality and is getting better in the team.

"And Luka is happy because he needed that [goal] and, although he does not play much, it's important [to make an impact] when he has minutes replacing Karim."

Karim Benzema had a hand in three goals as he inspired Real Madrid to a 5-0 win over Leganes in LaLiga on Wednesday.

With last weekend's scheduled Clasico against Barcelona postponed due to political tension in Catalonia, Madrid appeared to have fun on their return to action as they toyed with rock-bottom Leganes, who had no answer to the classy Benzema at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Frenchman was central to a brutal Madrid start that saw them lead 2-0 within eight minutes – Benzema setting up Rodrygo Goes and Toni Kroos, before Sergio Ramos got in on the act from the spot.

Benzema eventually got a deserved goal of his own from 12 yards, taking him to seven for the season, and Luka Jovic finally got his first goal for the club in stoppage time as Los Blancos moved up to second – behind Barcelona – in the table.

Madrid looked in the mood right from the start and quickly charged into their two-goal lead, as Benzema teed up Rodrygo for a straightforward finish, before Kroos' deft flick from the striker's low cross left Juan Soriano with no chance.

Ramos increased the deficit in the 24th minute with a penalty, though he needed two opportunities as Soriano – who conceded the spot-kick for fouling Eden Hazard – was penalised via VAR for coming off his line when saving the Madrid captain's first attempt.

Benzema went agonisingly close to a fine goal just past the hour when his 25-yard strike came back off Soriano's left-hand post.

But Soriano had no such luck soon after when Benzema slammed home a cool penalty, won by Luka Modric after a clumsy tackle by Kenneth Omeruo.

Jovic wrapped up an emphatic victory late on, meeting Dani Carvajal's cross with a fine header to get off the mark for Madrid in his 10th outing.

 

What does it mean? Normal service restored in LaLiga

When promoted Granada sat top of the table at the weekend, there was certainly a feeling of refreshing unpredictability in LaLiga.

But, with Barca demolishing Real Valladolid on Tuesday and Madrid making light work of Leganes, the traditional heavyweights lead the way again at the summit.

Benzema bullies Leganes' backline

What a renaissance Benzema is enjoying. He has always been a very good link-up striker, providing plenty of assists across his Madrid career, but his display on Wednesday was quintessential Benzema. He worked selflessly and laid on two assists in a fine performance, capping it off with a well-taken penalty.

A miserable day for Omeruo

It was a day to forget for many of Leganes' back five, but Omeruo was particularly hapless, struggling to pick up Benzema several times and then tripping Modric for the second penalty.

What's next?

Madrid are at home again on Saturday as Real Betis are the visitors. On Sunday, Leganes host fellow strugglers Eibar, as they look to close the gap to the teams above them.

Luka Jovic has found it hard to kick-start his Real Madrid career and Saturday's LaLiga defeat to Real Mallorca showed how much work the striker still has to do.

The 21-year-old, a reported €50million signing from Eintracht Frankfurt in the transfer window, has struggled to make an impact under Zinedine Zidane thanks largely to the continued good form of Karim Benzema.

Speaking on Friday, Zidane insisted Jovic was "not discouraged" at having previously started just two LaLiga matches and promised the forward would be given his chance.

He duly was for the visit to Son Moix, where Madrid's unbeaten start to the league season came to an end thanks to a fine first-half goal from Lago Junior seven minutes in.

Jovic started alongside Benzema in attack as Zidane made a number of changes, most likely with one eye on next Tuesday's Champions League trip to Galatasaray, but the two-pronged attack was a blunt one.

In his 66 minutes on the pitch, Jovic failed to have a shot or a single touch in the Mallorca penalty area, created no chances for team-mates and touched the ball just 25 times overall.

He only exchanged four passes with Benzema, too, highlighting just how much of a disconnect there was between the strikers on a day where Madrid's final ball was far too often wayward.

This was Mallorca's first win over Madrid in LaLiga since May 2009 and their first at home since February 2006, while it ended Madrid's unbeaten domestic run to leave them a point behind leaders Barcelona after nine matches.

The return of injured stars such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale will be welcome, but finding a way to spark Jovic into life might be a more pressing concern.

Zinedine Zidane insists his meeting with Paul Pogba in Dubai was "pure chance" – but the Real Madrid boss will not disclose what they discussed.

Manchester United star Pogba, who has been in Dubai as part of his recovery from an ankle problem, was photographed meeting Zidane during his trip to the region for the Dubai Artificial Intelligence in Sport (DAIS) Conference and Exhibition.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted he had "no problem at all" with one of his most important players being pictured speaking with the head coach of a club who are among the favourites to try to sign him.

Pogba was heavily linked with a move to Madrid in the previous transfer window after indicating he wanted a new challenge and it is likely the France international will be the subject of rumours once more in January.

Zidane is not prepared to look ahead to the next transfer window just yet, but he would not go into detail about his chat with his compatriot.

"It was pure chance," he told a news conference on Friday when asked about the meeting. "He was there and I was doing the talk and, as we know each other, we spoke. But it's personal – I'm not going to tell you what we talked about.

"We've known each other for a long time, we crossed paths, we stopped, and we talked.

"There are a lot of options, for every club [in January]. When we come to this date, the clubs will decide. We're going to play with 11 players tomorrow [Saturday, against Real Mallorca] and there will be players on the bench. We'll find a solution.

"We'll be able to sign players until the end of January, but what matters to me is the game [against Mallorca]. I'm not thinking about reinforcements. That's a long way off."

Zidane's immediate concern is Saturday's trip to Mallorca, which Madrid will make without the injured Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez.

Zidane hinted he may choose to call on Federico Valverde in midfield, given his limited options.

"Modric won't be there, Bale won't be there. Kroos won't be with us, either, nor will Lucas...," he said. "We're always playing, travelling and we never stop, so this can happen.

"[Valverde] is very good, like everyone, but we have 25 players and I have to choose the 11 and the 18 for every game. He can play box-to-box and that's important. He has personality, he wants to do well all the time, he's very demanding of himself and that's good for improvement."

Given Karim Benzema's form this season, it looks unlikely striker Luka Jovic will make only a third LaLiga start since his reported €60million transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt.

Zidane, though, insists the 21-year-old will get his chance to impress.

"He's not discouraged. He knows the situation," he added of Jovic, who has played just 218 minutes this season for his club.

"He's a player who just arrived and he's much better, he's speaking Spanish bit by bit, training well and I will be using him. He's not played much so far, but I'll use him."

Luka Jovic will make the grade at Real Madrid if he is afforded time, according to his former Eintracht Frankfurt captain Alexander Meier.

Jovic joined Eintracht on an initial two-year loan from Benfica in 2017 after struggling in Portugal and he went on to star in the Bundesliga.

The Serbia international scored 17 top-flight goals last season and netted a further 10 in the Europa League as Eintracht reached the semi-finals.

That form persuaded Madrid to pay a reported €60million for the 21-year-old, but he has made only two LaLiga starts, with Karim Benzema continuing his fine run of form.

But Meier, who spent a season with Jovic, is adamant there is no reason to panic about Jovic's lack of starts, while he also has no qualms with Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic departing Eintracht for West Ham and AC Milan, respectively.

Speaking to Omnisport, the Western Sydney Wanderers forward said: "It's never wrong to go to Real Madrid and Sebastien is in the best league in the world. They all went to big clubs and I think it's the best step for their careers.

"When you go somewhere new it takes time and I'm pretty sure Jovic will come good there.

"You could tell after two or three weeks how good his finishing was. He can do everything: left foot, right foot, head. He is perfect in front of the goal."

Former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado insisted Luka Jovic is a "great striker," who needs time to settle in at the La Liga giant.

Jovic is still searching for his first goal for Madrid since arriving from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in a reported €60million deal.

The 21-year-old Serbia international arrived in the offseason after scored 27 goals in 2018-19. However, he is yet to open his Madrid account and has not found the back of the net since a Euro 2020 qualifier in June.

Salgado, who won four LaLiga titles and two Champions League trophies during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu, was asked about Jovic and he told Omnisport: "He's a young player. If Real Madrid signed him, is due to something. He has been a great player Eintracht Frankfurt, lot of goals, great attacking quality.

"It is known that Real Madrid needed a 'nine', a striker. Benzema is a different 'nine', a player that collects, combines over finishing. Jovic must still learn, it's a young player and Real Madrid it's a team with a lot of pressure. He needs time. He has that time, we know he's a great striker, you guys know that here in Germany."

Salgado also urged to "give him some space" and then "little by little" Jovic would become a Real Madrid player.

Jovic, who was not called up by Serbia during the international break, and La Liga leaders Madrid are back in action away to Mallorca on Saturday.

While Madrid top the table by two points, it has not been a straightforward start to the season for Zinedine Zidane's men.

Zidane, in his second spell at the helm, has been criticised, especially after the club's 3-0 Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

"There's always critics at Real Madrid. A club that depends on victories, a gigantic club," Salgado said. "With a lot of pressure. But I think the last two scores had calm the team.

"Zidane deserves all our respect, he won three Champions Leagues in a row. Something that no one has achieve in history, now arriving into Madrid in a difficult position from last year. The season just started, and they climb into the first positions. We've got to let them work. I know Real Madrid, I been there almost 11 years. I know how it works and it's important that the manager and the players are calm in a moment like these.

"As I said, being leaders brought clam to the team and the team will grow a lot from now on. Zidane deserves the confidence from us, supporters. I think he's doing a great job."

Martin Odegaard is enjoying a stellar season at Real Sociedad.

On loan from Real Madrid, Odegaard's starring performances are attracting interest from across Europe.

A Norwegian connection at Manchester United could see Odegaard move to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT ODEGAARD

Manchester United have joined the race to sign in-form Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard, according to The Sun.

Odegaard is currently on loan at LaLiga side Real Sociedad, where the 20-year-old has scored two goals and supplied two assists this term.

The Norway international, who joined Madrid from Stromsgodset in 2015 but only has two appearances to his name for the Spanish giants, has also been linked to Premier League rivals Manchester CityLiverpool and Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to leave struggling Tottenham. It comes after Spurs' season hit a new low following Tuesday's embarrassing 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich. Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been linked to the London club.

- As doubts grow over Pochettino, The Sun claims ex-Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri will wait until the end of the season before taking a Premier League job. Allegri, who left Serie A champions Juventus at the end of 2018-19, has emerged as a possible target for Tottenham and United.

Arsenal have the chance to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano for £53million (€59.4m) at the end of the season, claims L'Equipe. The Gunners were heavily linked to the 20-year-old during the recent transfer window and they could return for the defender, whose release clause is reportedly set to drop.

- Bayern Munich are interested in Birmingham teenager Jude Bellingham, says The Sun. The 16-year-old has impressed in the Championship this season with two goals in six matches. Bundesliga champions Bayern have an eye on English talent following their unsuccessful pursuit of Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi.

- Sport Bild claims Bayern will "resume talks with Leroy Sane's management in the coming weeks". The Manchester City star was targeted by the German giants before suffering a serious ligament injury in the Community Shield.

- According to Calciomercato, Juventus are hoping to agree a new deal with midfielder Blaise Matuidi. The Frenchman, who was linked with a move away before the transfer window closed, is out of contract at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Juve boss Maurizio Sarri is keen on reuniting with Chelsea star N'Golo Kante.

Inter are set to launch a shock January move for Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez, says Calciomercato. Antonio Conte's list of attacking options to add to Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez reportedly includes Chelsea's Olivier Giroud, Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic, Udinese's Kevin Lasagna and Andrea Petagna of SPAL.

Vinicius Junior and debutant Rodrygo Goes earned a much-changed Real Madrid an uninspiring 2-0 win over Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu that sent them top of LaLiga.

Brazilian teenager Vinicius was clearly emotional after finding the net for the first time since February, though a deflection helped his effort beat Ruben Martinez in the 36th minute.

Luka Jovic had what would have been a maiden Madrid goal ruled out by VAR in the second half, but Rodrygo marked his first appearance since arriving from Santos in the close season by opening his account within two minutes of replacing Vinicius.

The victory should ease the pressure on Zinedine Zidane, but Saturday's clash with Atletico Madrid – one point behind Los Blancos in second – will be the real litmus test for the security of his position.

Zidane made eight changes to the team that beat Sevilla 1-0 at the weekend and Sergio Ramos, Casemiro and Toni Kroos were the only players retained.

Madrid took 18 minutes to come to life, with Alvaro Odriozola surging down the right and sending in a low cross that Ruben was fortunate to stop Raul Navas turning into his own net. The rebound fell kindly to Jovic, but the striker blazed over from six yards.

Kroos sent a blistering effort flashing past the post before Vinicius broke the deadlock when his shot from the edge of the box took a touch off Navas and sailed into the top-right corner, the Brazilian almost reduced to tears.

Jovic was unable to punish a defensive lapse from Osasuna within five minutes of the restart and he had a goal correctly disallowed for offside upon review before the hour mark.

Vinicius made way for 18-year-old Brazilian Rodrygo and in the 72nd minute he jinked in from the left, beat Lillo and curled a great finish into the bottom-right corner to consign Osasuna to their first defeat of the season.

 

What does it mean? Zidane keeps stars fresh

By resting his first choice attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, Zidane will be feeling positive ahead of the trip to the Wanda Metropolitano.

Thibaut Courtois, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal were unused substitutes, while James Rodriguez only played eight minutes off the bench.

Rodrygo makes instant impact

Rodrygo was expected to split his time between the first team and Castilla this season, but Zidane may be keen to keep him around after a stellar cameo sealed victory for Madrid.

Jovic fails to step up

With Benzema having scored five goals in his past five LaLiga appearances, chances for Jovic to lead the Madrid attack are going to be limited for the foreseeable future. The Serbian was unable to take the chances that came his way and can expect a swift return to the bench.

What's next?

Zidane's side meet Atletico in El Derbi on Saturday and Osasuna travel to Levante the following day.

Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic has been released from international duty after sustaining an unspecified injury with Serbia.

Jovic, 21, has not had the smoothest of starts to life at Madrid and another injury could further disrupt the season for the former Eintracht Frankfurt star.

Jovic came off the bench in Saturday's 4-2 home defeat by Portugal, with the Serbian Football Federation (FSS) confirming his injury blow a day later.

Specifics relating to the injury were not revealed, with the FSS saying in a statement that Jovic exacerbated an unspecified issue he suffered before joining up with the national team.

Jovic missed a chunk of pre-season with an ankle knock, though it is unclear if the latest problem is connected.

He will not feature in Tuesday's trip to Luxembourg in Euro 2020 qualifying, while he will likely be considered a doubt for Madrid's visit of Levante four days later.

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