Sergio Ramos can handle talk over his future at Real Madrid and has not allowed his contract situation to affect him while playing for Spain, according to Luis Enrique. 

Defender Ramos is in the final year of his deal with Madrid and negotiations between the two parties have reportedly stalled, leading to speculation he could be set to depart the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with the 34-year-old, who pulled out of the scheduled national team news conference on Monday, Manchester City midfielder Rodri stepping in to replace his captain.

Ramos is preparing for Spain's pivotal Nations League clash with Germany on Tuesday, a game they must win if they are to leapfrog their rivals and qualify for the finals of the tournament. 

Head coach Luis Enrique has backed the centre-back to cope amid the growing pressure, something he has become accustomed to during his distinguished career for club and country. 

"Everything that is generated around Ramos is neither new, nor old, nor is it anything," the Spain boss told the media.  

"It is what it is and what it means to have a player of this level. It is normal that there is pressure around and you have to live with that. 

"If there is someone with enough experience to handle this personal situation it is Sergio Ramos.  

"He is well prepared, and I see him the same as the first day we arrived at the national team, his enthusiasm, his leadership. His face does not change at all and this is part of the things that a footballer should know how to carry."

Spain were only able to draw 1-1 away in Switzerland last time out, not helped by the usually reliable Ramos missing two penalties. 

Luis Enrique defended the player – who had scored his previous 25 attempts from the spot for club and country – in his post-match media conference, though it was again a topic of debate in Monday's preview session for the game in Seville. 

"I don't know if Sergio Ramos is the best penalty taker in the world," he replied when asked about Ramos' spot-kick role.  

"What I did defending Sergio after the game is what any coach would do of course. You have to know how to accept both versions of the story and nothing happens."

Ramos has played the most number of games (16) during Luis Enrique's time in charge, during which he is the leading scorer with nine goals.

He is also top of the charts across the same period when it comes to shots attempted (37), passes attempted (1,328) and also duels won (64), showing his all-round value to the team.

Sergio Ramos withdrew from a Spain media conference on Monday amid speculation Paris Saint-Germain are set to make a big-money offer for the Real Madrid captain. 

Ramos became the most capped European male player with 177 international appearances in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Switzerland, although he missed two penalties.

He was scheduled to speak alongside head coach Luis Enrique ahead of Tuesday's Nations League clash with Germany, but has been replaced by Manchester City midfielder Rodri. 

The 34-year-old's absence comes as Ligue 1 giants PSG are rumoured to be preparing a three-year deal worth €20million per season to secure his services.

Ramos' deal at Madrid expires at the end of the 2020-21 season and he is free to talk to other clubs about a lucrative free transfer from January 1. 

Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane, however, believes Ramos will stay on at the club, saying earlier this month: "I have no doubt that he will stay. He is our leader and of course we love him forever."

Spain go into Tuesday's clash knowing only a win will be good enough to help them finish top of Group A4 and qualify for next year's finals. 

Is Kylian Mbappe's future in Paris?

Mbappe has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, while Liverpool have also emerged as a possible destination.

But Mbappe could extend his Paris Saint-Germain contract under one condition.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE READY TO RENEW IN PARIS

Kylian Mbappe will re-sign with Paris Saint-Germain but there is a catch, according to Diario AS.

Mbappe has been tipped to swap Ligue 1 champions PSG for LaLiga holders Real Madrid, while Liverpool are another possible destination.

The France star has reportedly rejected three contract offers from PSG, though he could be prepared to renew if a minimum-fee release clause was inserted in the deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS also says Madrid and Sergio Ramos are set to provide an update on his contract situation. The Los Blancos captain is out of contract at the end of the season. El Chiringuito claims Juventus, PSG, Manchester United and Manchester City have made approaches.

- Sport, meanwhile, claims Madrid are eyeing potential replacements if Ramos does not extend his deal in the Spanish capital. Bayern Munich's David Alaba, Villarreal defender Pau Torres and City's Eric Garcia are reportedly being considered by Zinedine Zidane.

Alaba has also been linked with a move to Serie A champions Juventus, reports Tuttosport. The front page of the newspaper adds that Juve are also targeting midfielders, with Lyon star Houssem Aouar atop the list, while Ajax's Ryan Gravenberch is wanted in Turin. Aouar has also been heavily linked with Arsenal, Barcelona and City.

- The Express says Premier League champions Liverpool are prepared to splash the cash on a centre-back in January. It comes after Joe Gomez joined Virgil van Dijk on the sidelines through injury.

- Inter star and Barca target Lautaro Martinez will reject a renewal with the Serie A side if they remove his release clause, according to Sport.

Luis Enrique hailed "unique" Sergio Ramos after the Spain captain equalled Italy great Gianluigi Buffon's European caps record in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with the Netherlands.

Ramos was brought on five minutes from time at the Johan Cruijff ArenA for his 176th international appearance, some 15 years after making his senior debut.

The Real Madrid centre-back can overtake Buffon as Europe's most-capped international footballer should he feature against Switzerland in Basel on Saturday.

He is also within eight appearances of the worldwide caps record, which is currently held by former Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan.

Spain head coach Luis Enrique praised Ramos for matching Buffon's tally.

"Sergio is unique. He is on a different level," he said after the match. "The appearance record is only within the reach of those who are very gifted."

Luis Enrique fielded an experimental XI that included debutant goalkeeper Unai Simon, plus returning quartet Koke, Alvaro Morata, Hector Bellerin and Marco Asensio.

Morata set up Sergio Canales for Spain's 18th-minute opener - the ninth goal the Juventus striker has been directly involved in in nine games for club and country this term.

"Alvaro has been very good but it is the same as we have seen these months at Juve," Luis Enrique said. "We caused problems for them with him in attack."

Koke also impressed in Amsterdam as he attempted more passes in the opposition half (29) and produced more tackles (four) than any other player on the field.

Asked about the Atletico Madrid midfielder's display, Luis Enrique said: "He is a player who gives us total guarantee that he will perform at a very high level. He did very well, exactly what I asked of him, and has the personality to play there."

Spain have won only two of their six matches this calendar year but Luis Enrique insisted he is happy with where his side are at ahead of key Nations League games with Switzerland and Germany over the next week.

"I have a good feeling because this was a complicated game for us," he said. "We had some good phases, although in the second half we became a little bit more disorganised.

"But in general I am satisfied with my side, who showed a good attitude. We had a plan in place to bring in some fresh player ahead of the two competitive matches. I am more than satisfied with what I have seen."

David Beckham reportedly dreams of signing Sergio Ramos at Inter Miami, while Phil Foden seems set for a new deal at Manchester City.

Ramos, 34, is out of contract at Real Madrid at the season's end, leading to speculation over his future.

While the Madrid captain has been expected to re-sign, the defender is unsurprisingly attracting plenty of interest.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM DREAMS OF RAMOS AT INTER MIAMI

Inter Miami co-owner Beckham wants Real Madrid star Ramos to join the MLS club, according to AS.

Ramos and Beckham were team-mates at the Santiago Bernabeu for two seasons between 2005 and 2007.

The report says while Ramos likes Miami, the defender is likely to stay in Europe, with Madrid apparently offering him a two-year deal.

Ramos netted his 100th Madrid goal in all competitions in Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League win over Inter, with 55 of those headers.

 

ROUND-UP

- Foden is set to be rewarded for his form at Manchester City. The Mirror reports the midfielder is set for a big pay rise as he is expected to sign a new contract early next year. Foden's current deal runs until 2024.

- Previously linked to Manchester United, Lyon forward Moussa Dembele is apparently wanted by West Ham. The Ligue 1 club are reportedly prepared to sell Dembele and West Ham are interested, according to the Mirror, which says a bid of about £30million (€33.2m) could be enough. Dembele has made just four Ligue 1 starts for Lyon this season.

- Another forward with an uncertain future is Luka Jovic. Marca reports the 22-year-old, who is without a goal in four games for Real Madrid this season, is considering his future.

- Sergio Romero is expected to leave Manchester United. The Sun says the goalkeeper, whose deal expires at the end of the season, is training alone and hopes to leave the Premier League club for free in January.

Cristiano Ronaldo is contracted at Juventus until 2022, but the superstar seemingly has no plans to retire then.

Ronaldo, 35, has made another fine start to the season with Juve, where he arrived from Real Madrid in 2018.

But with his contract expiring in 2022, the Portugal star's future is again set to be a talking point.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO WANTS TO STAY AT TOP LEVEL BEYOND 2022

Ronaldo wants to play at the top level beyond 2022 but there are no guarantees he will stay at Juventus, according to Tuttosport.

The report says Ronaldo, who has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain previously, would prefer not to head to a competition like MLS or the Chinese Super League.

Ronaldo has scored five goals in three Serie A appearances for Juve this season.

While early in the campaign, Ronaldo has a better shooting accuracy (66.7), shot conversion rate (31.3) and big chance conversion percentage (66.7) in 2020-21 than in his previous seasons in Serie A.

 

ROUND-UP

Sergio Ramos reached 100 goals for Real Madrid on Tuesday, but there has been talk about the club captain's future. ESPN says Ramos and Madrid have begun talks over a new contract, with the 34-year-old's current deal expiring at season's end.

Chelsea were reportedly chasing West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in the close season, although they proved unsuccessful. However, Fabrizio Romano reports Chelsea will try to land the England international again in January.

- As Tanguy Ndombele begins to impress at Tottenham, Barcelona are considering a move for the midfielder, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- Amid uncertainty over his Real Madrid future, Luka Jovic is again linked with a move away. CalcioMercato reports Milan and Napoli could return to move for the forward in January. The Serbian is without a goal in four games for Madrid this season.

Rodrygo struck 10 minutes from time to earn Real Madrid a 3-2 win and deny Inter after the visitors had battled back from two goals down in Tuesday's Champions League clash.

Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane labelled the Group B match a "final" and his side made a bright start thanks to Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos – the latter scoring his 100th goal for the club.

Inter, who entered the contest one point better off than their opponents, battled back through well-taken strikes from Lautaro Martinez and Ivan Perisic either side of half-time.

But Madrid regained their lead late on when substitutes Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo combined on the counter, making it five games without a win for Inter and under-pressure boss Antonio Conte.

Marco Asensio was denied by a smart Samir Handanovic save and Nicolo Barella scraped the top of the crossbar with a header in a lively and end-to-end start to the showdown.

That set the tone for what was to follow as Benzema pounced on Hakimi's underhit backpass, rounded Inter goalkeeper Handanovic and tucked the ball into an empty net for the 25th-minute opener.

Ramos added a second for Madrid eight minutes later by getting away from his marker to meet Toni Kroos' corner and head in from the edge of the six-yard box.

Inter gave themselves an instant lifeline as Barella superbly flicked the ball into the path of Martinez to pick out the bottom-left corner 10 minutes before the interval.

Conte's Inter, once again without injured striker Romelu Lukaku, initially struggled to get at their opponents in a quieter second half in the Spanish capital.

However, against the run of play, Martinez nodded the ball into the path of Perisic and the makeshift striker held off Lucas Vazquez before rifling across Thibaut Courtois.

Both teams went in search of a winner and it was Madrid who found it – Vinicius leading a break down the left and feeding the ball to fellow Brazilian Rodrygo, who took a touch to set himself and then found the top-right corner to win the match during the closing stages.

It remains to be seen whether Pep Guardiola will re-sign with Manchester City.

Guardiola's contract expires at the end of the season in Manchester.

Should the Spaniard decide to move on, there are already two men on the list to replace him.

 

TOP STORY – CITY INTERESTED IN NAGELSMANN

Manchester City are eyeing RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann as a possible replacement for Pep Guardiola, according to the Daily Mail.

Guardiola is out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 campaign and the City manager – who has been previously linked to Juventus – is no closer to re-signing.

Should Guardiola decide to leave after arriving in 2016, Nagelsmann and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino are early candidates.

 

ROUND-UP

Sergio Ramos and LaLiga champions Real Madrid remain deadlocked over contract talks, claims the front page of Monday's Diario AS. The 34-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and he wants a two-year deal, though Madrid are only committed to 12 months.

- Tuttosport reports Juve and Barcelona are both pursuing Ajax sensation Ryan Gravenberch. The 18-year-old midfielder emerged from Ajax's youth system in 2018.

Barcelona will block a January loan offer from Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain for Riqui Puig, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Kylian Mbappe extending his PSG contract has not been ruled out, claims L'Equipe. Tipped to eventually join Madrid, while the likes of Liverpool, Barca and Manchester United have also been linked, Mbappe could stay in Paris should certain conditions be met. The Frenchman is keen to see what unfolds in the next transfer windows.

Zinedine Zidane was delighted to be able to welcome back Sergio Ramos for the Clasico, with the Real Madrid captain starring at both ends at Camp Nou.

Ramos had been substituted at half-time in last week's defeat to Cadiz and sat out the midweek meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, a second straight home reverse.

But Madrid's form returned along with their skipper on Saturday as they beat bitter rivals Barcelona 3-1.

Zidane's led through Federico Valverde's fifth-minute goal but were pegged back soon enough by Ansu Fati, who then had the Spanish champions on the back foot early in the second half.

However, Ramos earned a penalty from an altercation with Clement Lenglet in the Barca box – a tug spotted by the VAR – and netted himself from 12 yards.

That set the stage for Luka Modric to clinch the points in the 90th minute after Ramos had led a brave defensive effort.

The World Cup winner's importance to Madrid is certainly not in doubt. Including the Shakhtar game, they have lost seven of their past eight Champions League games without him.

"We know what Sergio is and what he represents, not only as a player," Zidane said.

"He is always positive on the field and we always want him in our team. It is important for the team to see how he played today."

Ramos made three tackles, four clearances, three interceptions and a block in defence, but his most telling contribution was in attack.

The defender felt the penalty award was "very clear" but, while Barca coach Ronald Koeman was left disappointed, Zidane was reluctant to be drawn into such a discussion.

"[The referee] went to look at the play and he called a penalty," Zidane said. "I never speak of the referees and I will not do it today either.

"Regardless of this play, we deserved this victory, although Barca also had their chances."

Ronald Koeman said he hoped the use of VAR in LaLiga would be explained after a contentious Real Madrid penalty turned the tide in his first Clasico as Barcelona coach.

Madrid ran out 3-1 winners at Camp Nou on Saturday but were on the back foot at 1-1 prior to a spot-kick awarded against Clement Lenglet.

Sergio Ramos went down in dramatic fashion following a tug from Lenglet in the area, with the VAR then encouraging referee Juan Martinez Munuera to assess the incident.

He awarded a penalty, which Ramos scored, but Koeman claimed the Madrid captain had first committed a foul.

"Is it a penalty? For me, it is not a penalty," said Koeman, whose side cancelled out Federico Valverde's opener through Ansu Fati but saw any hopes of rescuing a result late on dashed by Luka Modric's goal.

"I hope they can explain it to me about the use of VAR here in Spain. The VAR can be very good, but for all teams.

"I have not spoken with Lenglet about the play. First, it is Ramos foul on Lenglet for taking him by the shirt. Once again, for me, it is not a penalty.

"It is normal for Real Madrid players to do their best so that the referee awards a penalty.

"I don't want to talk about this penalty anymore. What is clear is that it has been decisive in the game."

The victory lifted Madrid above Real Sociedad to the top of LaLiga, while Barcelona sit 12th with two defeats, two wins and a draw from their five league matches under Koeman.

The past week showed everyone that Real Madrid are vulnerable. Everyone it seems, except Ronald Koeman.

Consecutive defeats and some rather loud questions about the future of Zinedine Zidane meant Saturday's game at Camp Nou was one he dare not lose. For Koeman, this was a chance to go for the jugular, to show LaLiga and the watching world what improvements he has made to Barcelona since taking over in August.

Instead, the first Clasico of the season was a commanding 3-1 win for Madrid, a bruising outing for Lionel Messi and a 90-minute showcase of how unclear the Koeman blueprint seems to be.

He went, as expected, with Barca's first starting 4-2-3-1 in a Clasico since at least 2005-06, but his line-up was still puzzling. Ansu Fati is a rare talent with a robustness under pressure to match – and, of course, he scored here to cancel out Federico Valverde's opener – but Pedri, another 17-year-old, was chosen ahead of Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele as two of Barca's most expensive signings again began on the bench.

The two France forwards are hardly untouchables in this side, but starting a player of such limited experience as Pedri was a gamble that didn't pay off. He completed 79.5 per cent of his passes, the lowest rate of any starting player for Barca, and failed to have a shot or create a chance. It was a surprise that it took until the 81st minute for Koeman to bring him off.

By the time Griezmann and Dembele were summoned in the second half, with Barca chasing the game, it was too little, too late. Sergio Ramos, the major-general of Zidane's fiercest battles, had seen to that.

The Madrid captain can claim to be the most critical asset to either side of this famous rivalry, Messi included. Zidane had insisted this week he would not use Ramos were he not 100 per cent fit, but it sounded a hollow threat. Those chastening defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk had shown the boss that playing Ramos here was worth the risk.

So it proved. Ramos made four clearances, three interceptions and one crucial block from a Philippe Coutinho effort at 2-1. He misplaced just three of 55 passes and completed all 15 of those attempted in the Barca half. When Clement Lenglet foolishly took a handful of his shirt to concede a penalty, there seemed only one outcome. Not even VAR delays can throw Ramos off his stride.

He capped his display by stopping a late Messi run with an almost impudent back-foot challenge, the kind that will likely have fan accounts on social media sharing the footage every week until the reverse fixture.

Still, even with their captain back in the team, this is a flawed and fragile Madrid, with no fit recognised right-backs and who had only scored six goals in five league games, yet Koeman's set-up left them an easy ride.

After Messi had a shot well blocked by Thibaut Courtois 24 minutes in, Barca did not muster a single effort on target, meaning Luka Modric's composed late finish was scarcely even necessary. It was all too deep, too central and too slow; for Ramos and his fellow defenders, it was a picnic.

It is still early in the season to write off Koeman's chances, but two wins from five games and a six-point gap to Madrid at the top – albeit with a game in hand – are sufficient warning signs of the task at hand.

Ernesto Valverde's Barca were too rigid and Quique Setien's frighteningly open, but, after more than two months, we're no closer to knowing what kind of team Koeman's are.

Sergio Ramos felt the penalty he won and scored to inspire Real Madrid to a Clasico triumph at Barcelona was "very clear".

With Saturday's clash at Camp Nou level at 1-1 in the second half after early goals from Federico Valverde and Ansu Fati, Ramos went down in the Barca box.

It was an extravagant fall from the Madrid captain but caught the attention of the VAR, with replays highlighting a blatant tug on his shirt from Clement Lenglet.

A spot-kick was subsequently awarded and Ramos found the net before Luka Modric made sure of the points in the 90th minute.

Barca players were furious with the penalty decision, but Ramos saw no controversy in the call.

"The penalty is very clear," he said. "For me, the action is clear. The referees and the VAR are there to help us."

Wins at Barca are always worthy of celebration for Madrid, but this success was especially precious after consecutive home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Ramos played just 45 minutes across those matches due to a knee problem and was delighted by the LaLiga champions' response in Catalonia.

"It was a week in which to vindicate ourselves and a Clasico is a unique match in the world," he said. "We faced it with great enthusiasm.

"You always have to be united and you cannot regret bad streaks or previous results.

"We are happy with the three points, and emotionally it is very good for the next matches. It is always very rewarding to win at our eternal rivals."

He added: "A week of crisis at Real Madrid is two games. We have to keep adding three points at a time and keep the good energy of the group.

"There are points that taste like glory - that is how it is here at our eternal rivals' stadium. This team has won a lot and we want to continue doing so."

Ramos was influential at both ends of the field, with Madrid requiring their skipper to lead a determined defensive stand between his goal and Modric's.

The centre-back, who had more shots (four) and shots on target (three) than any team-mate, weighed in with three tackles, four clearances, three interceptions and a block.

He won seven of his 10 duels and all three in the air as Madrid batted away wave after wave of Barcelona attack over a 25-minute spell.

Sergio Ramos returned to win and score a game-turning penalty in Real Madrid's 3-1 Clasico victory at Barcelona on Saturday.

Madrid captain Ramos was substituted in last week's home defeat to Cadiz and missed the subsequent shock reverse against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League as the Spanish champions crept towards a crisis ahead of their first meeting with Barca this season.

But the centre-back was fit to start for the crunch LaLiga clash at Camp Nou and drew a second-half spot-kick from Clement Lenglet to restore Madrid's lead after Ansu Fati had cancelled out Federico Valverde's opener in a frantic start.

Luka Modric then preyed on a Neto error in the 90th minute to secure the points and take Zinedine Zidane's men top, earning back-to-back LaLiga wins against their fiercest rivals for the first time since May 2008 - the last time they successfully defended their domestic title.

Meanwhile, Barca are now without a win in three in the league and sit six points back in mid-table under new coach Ronald Koeman.

The first chance of a gripping game brought the breakthrough as Karim Benzema played a patient pass through for Valverde to advance and lift a cool fifth-minute finish over Neto into the top-left corner.

Vinicius Junior blasted off target as Madrid sought a swift second, but instead they were pegged back three minutes after going ahead when Jordi Alba raced in behind Nacho and squared for Fati to tap in.

Thibaut Courtois and Neto denied Lionel Messi and Benzema respectively at either end as an even, entertaining first half finished all square, before Barca started strongly in the second period.

Fati shot across the face of goal and then Philippe Coutinho aimed a header wastefully wide from the goalscorer's pinpoint cross.

But Lenglet's foolish, off-balance tug on Ramos encouraged an extravagant fall, alerting the VAR to the foul and allowing the visiting skipper to slide his spot-kick beyond Neto.

The embattled Neto made a smart double-stop from Toni Kroos and somehow blocked Ramos' volley, but his valiant efforts to keep Barca in the game were undone when he spilled the ball at the feet of Rodrygo, who squared for fellow substitute Modric to calmly prod into the net.
 

What does it mean? Advantage Madrid after tough week

Even with the season still in its infancy, recent results meant a victory either way in Catalonia would have a huge bearing on the mood music heading into the rest of the campaign.

Madrid therefore emerge surely in pole position to win a second straight LaLiga crown, having triumphed in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou for the first time since December 2007.

For Barca, the misery that set in at the end of last season shows no sign of shifting. They had 60 per cent of the possession in the second half on Saturday but could not muster a single shot on target.

Leading by example

Ramos' return did not fix all of Madrid's problems and right-back remains an issue, with Nacho surviving just 43 minutes, three fouls and a booking before he was substituted.

But the captain remains as influential as ever. He showed his experience in winning the penalty and then settled into a trademark defensive effort prior to the third goal, making three tackles, four clearances, three interceptions and a block in all.

Letting the side down

The Blaugrana were on top when Lenglet's misstep handed Madrid complete control. The foul - one of three from the Barca defender - initially went undetected, but Ramos was always likely to make the most of such contact in the box and it proved costly.

What's next?

Things do not get any easier for Barca as they go to Juventus on Wednesday. Madrid will aim to get their own Champions League campaign up and running a day earlier at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Sergio Ramos returned to captain Real Madrid and Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba was passed fit for Saturday's Clasico showdown at Camp Nou. 

Ramos missed a stunning 3-2 midweek Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk after suffering a knee injury in the shock loss to Cadiz, but the captain was picked to start at the heart of the Madrid defence against Ronald Koeman's side. 

Under-pressure head coach Zinedine Zidane restored Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Nacho Fernandez to the starting line-up, with Luka Modric among those dropped to the bench. 

Barca welcomed Alba back from a hamstring problem, while Pedri came into the side and Sergio Busquets started after being on the bench for the hammering of Ferencvaros. 

France forward Antoine Griezmann was once again named among the substitutes by Koeman, who was overseeing his first Clasico since his appointment in August. 

Madrid are unbeaten in their past two Clasicos in LaLiga, keeping a clean sheet on both occasions, with Barca having only failed to score in three in a row once - between 1957 and 1958. 

Zinedine Zidane insists he is not feeling the pressure of the sack as the Real Madrid coach welcomes back Sergio Ramos for Saturday's Clasico.

Back-to-back home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk have left Zidane's position under scrutiny and a loss to Barcelona at Camp Nou would only amplify concerns that the team are stagnating.

The 3-2 loss to Shakhtar was particularly chastening, as Madrid fell 3-0 down in the first half to a team missing 10 key first-team players due to an outbreak of coronavirus, marking the first time they let in three goals in the first 45 minutes of a Champions League match in 15 years.

Ramos missed that match through injury but is expected at least to be in the squad this weekend, although Zidane warned he wanted his captain to be at "100 per cent".

Zidane has only lost twice in nine games against Barca as Madrid boss and his side have not conceded a goal in the previous two, with a goalless draw and a 2-0 win in last season's meetings helping Madrid go on to win the LaLiga title.

But with only three wins in all competitions since July 16, doubts have been growing over Zidane's long-term suitability in his second stint in the job, and some reports in Spain suggest Mauricio Pochettino has already been contacted over the prospect of taking charge.

Zidane, though, insists he feels the support of everyone at the club, saying: "Yes, [I feel it from] all of them. Ultimately, I've won many things with these players; they have made me win a lot of things. I will be with these players to the death. They are the ones who fight and run.

"I can see the support, yes. But, for now, what's important for us is to change the mindset. Games are coming for us to change things. Football is beautiful for that. When things get worse, you have to bring out your character and quality."

When asked if his future is at stake, he replied: "That's what is said. Nothing at all has changed. It was the same last year, the same in my first period. It doesn't change.

"What I have to do is my job, give 100 per cent as always and, to the rest, nothing.

"We look at the games. We started badly in the sense that, when they scored, it was tough for us to lift our heads.

"That's football. There are high and low moments and you have to accept them. You have to forget what happened the other day.

"I don't like being a victim or anything. It's a game and each one has its story, and that's the good thing about football. You can go through bad moments and the good thing is you can take that and come back to change the situation.

"I've always been critical of myself. It's the engine to improve. After a defeat, as coach, most of the criticism is for me. And that's normal. But I don't live in the past; I'm interested in what lies ahead."

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