Ander Herrera was one of 36 players cleared of sporting corruption by a Spanish court on Monday.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Herrera, along with Leganes coach Javier Aguirre and ex-Atletico Madrid captain Gabi, were investigated on suspicion of match-fixing in relation to a LaLiga meeting between Levante and Real Zaragoza in the 2010-11 campaign.

Zaragoza won the match to keep their place in the top flight, though they were then accused of paying Levante players €965,000 to lose the game.

However, all 41 people who stood trial have been cleared of the charges, with a Valencian court citing a lack of evidence, though two former Zaragoza officials were convicted of fraud.

Ex-president Agapito Iglesias and former financial director Javier Porquera were found guilty of using over €1.7million from Zaragoza's accounts to pay relegation bonuses.

The pair were each handed a 15-month prison sentence, though they are unlikely to serve time in jail due to Spain's rules over suspended sentences for first-time offenders.

Luis Suarez will undergo tests on his return to Barcelona after injuring his right calf during his side's shock 3-1 LaLiga defeat to Levante.

The striker had to be replaced shortly before half-time in Saturday's match and Barca will make checks on the 32-year-old to "determine the exact extent of the discomfort".

Suarez appeared to be troubled by a foul from Carlos Clerc midway through the first half and, having tried to play on, was replaced by Carles Perez just after Lionel Messi's penalty had put Barca in front.

He watched on as Ernesto Valverde's men fell apart in the second half, three goals in the space of seven minutes condemning them to a third away defeat of the league season and giving rivals Real Madrid the chance to move top if they defeat Real Betis.

The Uruguay international missed a month of action earlier in the season after injuring the same calf in another Barca defeat against Athletic Bilbao.

Suarez has scored six league goals since making his return to action on September 14 but could now face some further time out with matches against Slavia Prague and Celta Vigo to come before the next international break.

"It's always a problem when you have to change a player in the first half," Valverde said after the match.

"We would have preferred Luis to have been on the pitch but now is not the moment to start thinking about that. 

"We're hoping it's nothing serious, but it's a setback."

Ernesto Valverde dismissed a question about whether he would resign as Barcelona boss after his side's shock defeat at the hands of Levante.

LaLiga leaders Barca went down 3-1 at Ciutat de Valencia on Saturday, three goals in seven second-half minutes proving decisive for the hosts after Lionel Messi's penalty before the break.

Barca's third loss in six top-flight away games this season means Real Madrid have the chance to go top of the table when they play Real Betis, while Sevilla will also climb above them if they beat Atletico Madrid.

The setback for Valverde's men ended an impressive seven-match winning run in all competitions, but the head coach still faced questions over his future after the match.

Asked if he was surprised by his players' performance or contemplating resignation, Valverde said: "No to both of those questions. I'm not thinking of resigning – only looking forward.

"Everything just collapsed. We didn't start the second half well and we weren't creating any danger.

"Then, although they weren't causing us too many problems, they put two goals past us in two minutes. The third goal after that really punished us.

"Our opponents play against us as if it's the biggest game of the year and so you need to be able to respond.

"We know what this result means and what it means to win at these grounds. You need to make a massive effort, but my team is used to that.

"They had a great second half and managed to beat us. We have to analyse what happened and ask ourselves why it did."

Sergio Busquets came on in the second half and struggled to put his finger on what had gone wrong, suggesting the margin of victory was not an accurate reflection of the match.

"There's no explanation," the midfielder said. "It was a very even game and we did the most difficult part by going ahead.

"But they landed a blow and it did us damage. They had a burst of 10 minutes and they play with a lot of people in attack. On one of the goals, we couldn't get the second ball.

"I think that the game was equal, but the result was excessive. We were on a good run before. There is a game in the Champions League soon and another in LaLiga."

Barcelona fell apart as Levante scored three times in seven second-half minutes to claim a dramatic 3-1 LaLiga victory.

Lionel Messi, who returned to the Argentina squad this week, made it six goals in his last five games with a first-half penalty that appeared to have leaders Barca on course to extend a seven-match winning streak in all competitions.

But after Luis Suarez went off injured, an astonishing spell saw Jose Campana, Borja Mayoral and Nemanja Radoja all score as the match was turned on its head.

Barca's defeat means Real Madrid, who face Real Betis later on Saturday, have the chance to go top of the table with a victory.

After a quiet start to the contest, Antoine Griezmann saw a right-footed effort saved by the outstretched leg of Levante keeper Aitor Fernandez, Messi's throughball having created the opportunity.

Barca's breakthrough arrived seven minutes before the break, a slick passing move ending when Arthur found Nelson Semedo, who was hacked down by Jorge Miramon in the box.

Messi stepped up and comfortably sent Fernandez the wrong way from 12 yards, finding the top-right corner.

He almost had a second with half-time approaching, only for a combination of Fernandez and Miramon to deny him from close range, while Barca were forced to replace an injured Suarez after the striker could not run off an earlier knock.

Levante did not produce a shot on target in the first hour, but levelled the match when a poor Gerard Pique clearance led to Mayoral and Jose Luis Morales combining to set up Campana, who confidently beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen from just inside the area.

Just two minutes later, Mayoral collected a pass from Campana and curled an excellent 20-yard strike beyond Ter Stegen, who got a hand on it.

An astonishing sequence concluded with Levante's third after 68 minutes, with Clement Lenglet's headed clearance volleyed in by Radoja from 18 yards, courtesy of a big deflection off substitute Sergio Busquets.

VAR ruled out a second goal for Messi due to offside against Griezmann in the build-up and that was as close as Barca came to producing a fightback, despite the arrival of Ansu Fati from the bench.
 

What does it mean? Another away loss brings Barca back down to earth

Barca had started to hit top gear during their seven-match winning streak but could now fall behind rivals Madrid.

They have suffered three league defeats in only six away games this season and will also hope the injury to Suarez does not make this collapse even more costly to their title hopes.


Campana crucial in comeback

Campana was superb for Levante, scoring the equaliser, setting up Mayoral's strike and creating three chances for his team-mates in an influential display.
 

Griezmann quiet in defeat

The injury to Suarez afforded Griezmann the chance to play more centrally, but he struggled to make an impact as his mixed start to life at Barca continued. 

He had a first-half chance saved and poorly found the side netting with another opening before being spared by the offside flag. He did not create a single chance for his team-mates either.


What's next? 

Barca look to bounce back when they host Slavia Prague in Champions League business on Tuesday before a return to LaLiga action against Celta Vigo on Saturday, a match which is also at Camp Nou. Levante, meanwhile, are away to Athletic Bilbao on November 10.

Ousmane Dembele has been omitted from Barcelona's squad for Saturday's LaLiga meeting with Levante, despite being available following a two-match suspension.

The France international was sent off in the 4-0 victory against Sevilla on October 6 following a confrontation with referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz, forcing him to miss the league wins against Eibar and Real Valladolid.

He was free to be involved in this weekend's trip to Estadi Ciutat de Valencia, but coach Ernesto Valverde has left him out of his 19-man squad.

It is the latest in a long line of setbacks for Dembele, who missed a month of action earlier in the campaign due to a hamstring problem.

Samuel Umtiti is also not part of Barcelona's travelling group, having only returned to full training on Friday.

However, Valverde has recalled Arthur and Junior Firpo following the 5-1 win over Real Valladolid on Tuesday.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Eden Hazard was still some way short of being match fit after a low-key debut in Saturday's victory over Levante.

Hazard made a subdued start to his Madrid career with an appearance as a second-half substitute in a 3-2 win against Levante at the Bernabeu.

The Belgium international, who joined Madrid from Chelsea in June, has only recently returned to training following a thigh injury.

Hazard showed a few nice touches after he came off the bench in the 60th minute, although the 28-year-old forward was far from his sparkling best.

"When he touches the ball he has a lot of versatility," Zidane said.

"But what he needs now is to train more. He has only done four workouts with the team.

"The second half was more complicated for us, especially at the beginning. When the opponent scores a goal after three minutes it is difficult.

"But we got three points. We must not look for excuses, the important thing is to keep the first part of the game and play more minutes as the first part. We can improve a lot, we have to play better."

Real seemed to be cruising victory against Levante after two goals from Karim Benzema and one from Casemiro put them 3-0 up at half-time.

However, Borja Mayoral, on loan at Levante from Madrid, and Gonzalo Melero reduced the deficit.

Madrid’s defensive shakiness almost allowed Levante to take a point and the capital giants have yet to keep a clean sheet this season.

Zidane was full of praise for Benzema, who took his tally to four goals in four LaLiga matches, but acknowledged the need for an improvement from his struggling backline.

"What I can say about Benzema is keep it up," Zidane added. "We are very happy to see Benzema like this. We have seen Karim's ovation from the supporters.

"The defence? It doesn't worry me, although we have to improve and we are going to do it.

"Physically, maybe, the international break could be noticed but I don't want to look for excuses.

"I know we are going to score more goals and concede less."

Eden Hazard helped lift the growing gloom around Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid as he made his long-awaited debut in a 3-2 LaLiga win at home to Levante on Saturday.

Amid driving rain in the Spanish capital - Hazard must have thought he would play in better conditions after leaving London - he made a bright half-hour cameo from the bench.

A thigh injury delayed the Belgium star's debut but after skipping international duty during the break he was finally able to pull on the famous white shirt he has so long desired.

But as Paco Lopez's side battled back from 3-0 down at the break to almost snatch a point, Thibaut Courtois making a fine save to keep out Ruben Vezo's stoppage-time header, it is clear Hazard will not be able to fix all Madrid's problems on his own.

Hazard certainly adds variety to their attacking options. Zidane initially fielded him in a free role ostensibly operating on the left, his favoured position for club and country, filling the void where Cristiano Ronaldo thrived for so long before joining Serie A giants Juventus last year.

That meant the effervescent Vinicius Jr swapped wings and played on the right, with Lucas Vazquez - one of Zidane's favourites - switching inside to a more central role than his usual position on the flank. Hazard did occasionally pop up on the right and also in a more classic number 10 role, so it appears Zidane is going to give the Belgium star plenty of freedom to run his side's attacks.

Hazard replaced Casemiro - the Brazil midfielder having scored the third goal - even though Los Blancos were being dominated in the second half, ex-Madrid striker Borja Mayoral having cut the deficit to 3-1. Toni Kroos therefore dropped back into the shielding role in front of defence and Zidane still has to fit Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric back in after he was ruled out by injury.

Victory was set up by Karim Benzema, who scored twice in the first half to help build Madrid's commanding lead. At 2-0, he had scored nine of Madrid's past 11 LaLiga goals at home, while his tally in the league since the start of the year stands at an impressive 19.

Benzema has often been under-rated by fans and pundits during his time at the Bernabeu, but not by Zidane. Other coaches have failed to fully appreciate his understanding of the game and ability to bring others into play, which will be crucial if Hazard is to shine. 

A perfect example of his all-round skills was provided by Madrid's second goal, with Benzema linking up perfectly with James Rodriguez before slotting a low finish past Aitor Fernandez. Benzema would have had the matchball to show for his efforts had the woodwork not denied him, the crowd later giving him a rousing reception when he was replaced by Luka Jovic.

It was arguably telling that although Hazard, Jovic and Eder Militao all came off the bench, Zidane's starting XI - as long as you include James, who spent the past two years on loan at Bayern Munich - did not include any of the new signings provided by Florentino Perez.

Cracks have already reportedly begun to show in the relationship between Zidane and Perez, who failed to deliver Paul Pogba for his coach, so this was a welcome win, albeit by a far narrower margin that Madrid's vibrant first-half display deserved.

Zidane had made it clear the World Cup winner was a key target, adding mobility and drive to a central midfield department that has grown stale, but Pogba could not be prised away from Manchester United despite telling reporters he was ready for a new challenge.

Hazard will instead be relied on to provide Galactico stardust, but he will hope to have a greater impact than the time-wasting job he carried out in the latter stages as Madrid clung on.

Zidane and Madrid could celebrate a much-needed win after successive LaLiga draws, though, ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Paris Saint-Germain, where Hazard will surely make his first start.

Eden Hazard made his Real Madrid debut as they claimed a nervy 3-2 victory over Levante in LaLiga thanks to two goals from Karim Benzema.

A brace from Benzema, plus a goal from Casemiro, ensured Madrid were firmly in control when 3-0 ahead at the break before a second-half fightback from the visitors.

Borja Mayoral, on loan at Levante from Madrid, pulled a goal back and the home team conceded again when Gonzalo Melero headed in from a corner, with Thibaut Courtois preserving their lead with a fine save in the closing minutes.

Hazard, who joined from Chelsea, was given a warm welcome when introduced on the hour, the Belgium forward having missed his new club's opening three games of the season with a muscle injury.

Eden Hazard has been named in a Real Madrid matchday squad for the first time since joining from Chelsea as Levante visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

The Belgium international signed in a deal that could reportedly cost €140 million, but a thigh injury suffered in August proved an early disruption for the winger.

Coach Zinedine Zidane has stressed the need to go easy on Hazard following the injury, particularly as they head into a period that will see them play seven matches in 21 days.

But Hazard has been deemed fit enough to at least feature from the bench, as he takes a place among the substitutes against Levante.

Madrid have been particularly unlucky with injuries in recent months, leaving them with only three senior midfielders to play on Saturday; Toni Kroos, Casemiro and James Rodriguez, all of whom start.

New signing Alphonse Areola is on the bench following his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain, while 18-year-old Brazilian Rodrygo Goes is also among the substitutes for the first time in LaLiga.

Gareth Bale is missing through suspension after being sent off in the 2-2 draw with Villarreal before the international break.

Eden Hazard is ready to make his Real Madrid debut this weekend but Zinedine Zidane intends to take extreme caution with his fit-again star signing.

Belgium international Hazard has been cleared to make his first LaLiga appearance against Levante on Saturday, three months after arriving from Chelsea in a deal that reportedly could eventually cost Madrid €140million.

An ill-timed thigh injury on the eve of the new season delayed the 28-year-old's competitive bow, which appears likely to come from the bench at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"We have to go little by little with him," Zidane said. "He's been injured for three weeks. He's back training this week.

"We all want to see him play. We've got seven games in 21 days. We have to go carefully with him.

"We know what the situation is – he's ready and that's the most important thing.

"I'll be the one in charge of giving him minutes here and there and not trying to push him too much, trying to get the best out of him.

"We've got a lot of matches coming up, not just this one tomorrow, and we need to use our heads with Eden Hazard. So let's be calm. We're all ready and so is he."

While star signing Hazard is back in the mix, Madrid will be without Luka Modric for their fourth LaLiga fixture after the midfielder suffered a right leg muscle injury.

The 34-year-old, who played two full matches for Croatia during the international break, could also miss the midweek Champions League trip to Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid have been riddled with fitness issues throughout the early part of the new season but head coach Zidane would not apportion blame for the latest setback.

"Everyone tries to do the best for the players," he said.

"Luka played two games in four days [with Croatia]. That's what happens. We can't think too much about it, we just want Luka to get fit quickly to help us.

"The fact he's injured now and can't play tomorrow, we just have to accept it."

Zidane added: "I think all the clubs have similar problems. The fact we've got a lot of international players as well makes things difficult.

"But we work well on the training field, we've got the best backroom staff, I trust them, so we just hope after the injury to Luka we don't have any more."

Barcelona wrapped up their 26th LaLiga title as Lionel Messi came off the bench to score the winner in a 1-0 victory over Levante on Saturday that could be the catalyst for treble success.

The result at Camp Nou means Ernesto Valverde's men sit nine points ahead of nearest rivals Atletico Madrid, against whom they boast a superior head-to-head record, with three games to go.

And Barca still have the chance to lift two more trophies, with a Champions League semi-final against Liverpool and a Copa del Rey final with Valencia to come.

Valverde's decision to again leave Messi on the bench, perhaps with an eye on Wednesday's first-leg visit of Liverpool, will have provided some initial comfort to the visitors.

In the reverse fixture, the star forward was involved in all of Barca's goals – scoring three and assisting two – as the Catalans ran out 5-0 winners.

But he was introduced at the break and made the difference, showing profligate team-mates Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez the way.

Levante might have hoped for an easier outing in Messi's first-half absence, but goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez – who did not play in that match – was pressed into notable action twice inside the opening five minutes to repel efforts from Suarez and Coutinho.

The same pair were denied again, Suarez at the near post and Coutinho with a gilt-edged headed chance, before the Brazilian struck the crossbar with a free-kick.

Messi came on for the wasteful Coutinho at the interval and finally made the breakthrough just past the hour mark, with Levante failing to clear their lines and the Argentina striker supplying a two-touch finish from the edge of the six-yard box.

Levante were stung into action and Jose Luis Morales should have levelled matters soon after, but he skied over the bar with under-worked Marc-Andre ter Stegen left exposed.

Considering their complete lack of attacking threat for more than an hour, Levante did well to make the closing stages interesting and Enis Bardhi struck the post in a late scramble, but Barca ultimately sealed the three points they needed to celebrate an eighth LaLiga title in 11 seasons.

 

What does it mean? Treble joy on the cards

Barca have left their domestic rivals trailling in their wake, having suffered just two top-flight losses with three games remaining this term. A two-legged tussle with Premier League title hopefuls Liverpool is still to come in Europe's top competition, while they are strong favourites to see off Valencia in the Copa del Rey showpiece.

Levante, meanwhile, are by no means safe despite a 4-0 midweek win over Real Betis and will take extra interest in the exploits of 18th-placed Girona on Sunday after returning empty-handed from Camp Nou for the 13th top-flight visit in a row.

Fernandez the one-man wall

He ended up on the losing side, but Fernandez could scarcely have done more to keep his side in the contest for as long as he did. It would be a harsh judge who pinned the blame for Barca's goal on the goalkeeper.

Philippe flops

Coutinho is yet to deliver on the hype of his big-money move from Liverpool and this display underlined how he appears to be lacking a cutting edge. He was lively and constantly involved in the 45 minutes he had, but at Barca you need to have the finishing touch and that was sorely lacking.

What's next?

Jurgen Klopp brings his buoyant Merseysiders to Camp Nou on Wednesday, with a trip to Celta Vigo next on Barca's agenda in LaLiga. Levante host Rayo Vallecano next Saturday. 

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