Rodrygo's double helped Real Madrid strengthen their position at the top of the table in LaLiga as Athletic Bilbao were beaten 2-0 at the Bernabeu.

The hosts went ahead just eight minutes into the game through Rodrygo's excellent top corner finish and an energetic start to the second half saw Brahim Diaz go close twice either side of Inaki Williams' strike, but Jude Bellingham's neat pass set the Brazilian up for his second in the 73rd minute to seal the three points.

Real remain at the summit, eight points clear of second-placed Barcelona, while Athletic remain fourth.

Although Athletic started the brighter of the two teams, Real struck with their first attack of the game when Brahim broke forward and dispatched a fantastic cross-field ball into Rodrygo, who cut in from the left to curl the ball sweetly from the outside of the box into the top corner.

The hosts settled into the game after their early goal, with Brahim having plenty of involvement on the right flank, but Athletic were handed an early blow when Yeray Alvarez Lopez was taken off with injury in the 24th minute and Daniel Vivian came on to replace him.

Toni Kroos' deflected 34th minute strike was comfortably claimed by Julen Agirrezabala and moments later the German international's corner was cleared as far as Federico Valverde, who chipped the ball from long-distance towards the bottom left corner but Agirrezabala made a quick low save.

The hosts pushed for a second in the closing stages of the first half when Brahim pounced on a loose ball and his cross was poked just wide of goal by Vivian and Real threatened again from the resulting corner when Aurelien Tchouameni headed just wide.

Real were straight out of the blocks after the break and nearly doubled their lead following a mazy run from Rodrygo, who cut in from the left and played the ball through to Brahim on the right, but his low shot rattled off the far post.

Athletic had a brilliant chance seven minutes into the half when Berenguer's corner picked out an unmarked Williams at the far post, but Andriy Lunin palmed away before Brahim threatened again at the other end, firing over the crossbar.

Real extended their lead in the 73rd minute when a quick ball from Bellingham picked Rodrygo out in plenty of space on the left and the Brazilian cut into the centre to coolly slot home into bottom corner.

Athletic had two great chances when Iker Muniain's flicked effort was collected by Agirrezabala and after finding some space Williams dragged a shot wide.

Eder Militao made his first appearance in seven months since picking up a cruciate ligament injury after coming off the bench in stoppage-time as Real comfortably saw out the win.

Pablo Ibanez's gorgeous extra-time volley stunned Athletic Bilbao as Osasuna sealed their spot in the Copa del Rey final with a 1-1 draw at San Mames that secured a 2-1 aggregate win.

Jagoba Arrasate's men only held a slender 1-0 lead from last month's first leg in Pamplona, and for much of the match that looked unlikely to be enough.

Athletic deservedly levelled the aggregate score just after the half-hour, with Inaki Williams diverting Mikel Vesga's flick-on home from close range.

The Ghana international's younger brother Nico Williams seemed destined to put Athletic ahead in the tie during the second half, but the Spain winger wasted two glorious opportunities.

Athletic's profligacy coupled with Sergio Herrera's excellence between the posts ensured the game was extended by another 30 minutes.

Osasuna capitalised with just four minutes of extra time left, and in spectacular fashion, as Jon Moncayola's cross to the edge of the box was met by an exceptional controlled volley from Ibanez that left Julen Agirrezabala helpless.

Los Rojillos will face either Barcelona or Real Madrid – whose second leg is on Wednesday – in what will be just Osasuna's second Copa del Rey final ever.

Vinicius Junior deserves more respect than he is afforded, according to Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti. 

The forward endured something of a muted outing in the 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at San Mames Stadium on Sunday, contributing just one shot and being shown a yellow card.

However, no player won more than his six fouls, with the 22-year-old on the receiving end of some hefty challenges.

Ancelotti went on the defensive when asked for his thoughts on Vinicius and reinforced his affection for the attacker.

"He is a very sensitive person, and [yet], everyone pushes him," he said. "Rival players, rival fans and sometimes even the referees.

"Tonight, as always, he has been kicked around a lot. But he will get better in this regard. Right now, everyone is putting pressure on him.

"It may be that he sometimes loses concentration, but he is a very young boy. I love him very much and I want him to be respected a little more."

Goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos delivered the goods for Madrid on the road, though the latter did not score until the closing stages.

It meant the visitors were forced to protect their slender lead secured through the France international's delightful volley.

The goal took Benzema joint-second on Madrid's all-time LaLiga scorer charts and Ancelotti was keen to pay tribute to his skills too after a tough end to 2022.

“He has returned with all his quality [after his injuries]," he added. "It brings us a lot, and we are very satisfied."

Goals for Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos saw Real Madrid battle their way to a 2-0 win against Athletic Bilbao in a lively LaLiga encounter on Sunday.

Veteran France international Benzema hooked back a loose ball with a sensational volley to beat Unai Simon in the 24th minute at San Mames Stadium.

Kroos then swept home a breakaway finish in the 90th minute to wrap up the points for Carlo Ancelotti's men and keep the pressure on league leaders Barcelona.

But Ernesto Valverde's side will be left to mull whether they should have taken a point from the encounter after pushing hard for a draw before Kroos' goal ended those hopes.

Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams has been called up by Ghana for the first time, as the Black Stars look to finalise plans for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The Spain-born attacker is eligible through his parents, who hail from the nation's capital Accra, and his inclusion comes after he made himself available in July for this month's friendlies with Brazil and Nicaragua.

Williams is a former Spain international, but with just one friendly cap to his name, against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016, the 28-year-old was able to switch his allegiance.

Ghana qualified for their fourth World Cup appearance earlier this year after edging Nigeria on away goals in the CAF play-offs.

Other inclusions include Southampton's Mohammed Salisu, who reportedly refused previous call-ups, and Brighton and Hove Albion's Tariq Lamptey, a former England youth international.

The Black Stars will feature in Group H at Qatar 2022, and will face Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay.

The upcoming friendies see them play Brazil in Le Havre, France, on September 23, before the Nicaragua game follows in Larca, Spain, four days later.

Athletic Club's Inaki Williams announced he will opt to represent Ghana in international football on Tuesday, having previously played for Spain.

Born in Bilbao to Ghanaian parents, Williams has made one appearance for La Roja at senior international level but in a friendly, coming on as a substitute against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016.

Also part of Spain's run to the Under-21 Euro 2017 final, Williams' ability to switch allegiance falls under FIFA's eligibility rules change of 2003, when Tim Cahill opted to play for Australia after representing Western Samoa at junior level.

Posting on social media, the 28-year-old striker believes it is an opportunity to cultivate a deeper connection to his origins.

"Every step we take forward has its own meaning - a glance into the future which leaves a trace itself," he said. "A legacy. My parents have raised me with values based on humility, respect and love.

"That's why I feel the moment has come for me to find my origins within myself and with Africa and Ghana which means so much to me and my family."

At club level, Williams holds the LaLiga record for consecutive appearances at 233 games, after breaking the previous mark of 202 in October.

Ghana Football Association president Kurt Okraku also tweeted Tariq Lamptey, Stephan Ambrosius, Patric Pfeiffer and Ransford Yeboah are all set to confirm their allegiance to the Black Stars.

All five diaspora members could bolster Ghana's prospects at this year's World Cup, where they have been grouped with Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea.

Diego Simeone is ready to accept responsibility if Atletico Madrid fail to qualify for the Champions League.

On the day Atleti saw their LaLiga crown taken by bitter rivals Real Madrid, they suffered a potentially damaging 2-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

They remained in fourth after the defeat, yet fifth-placed Real Betis can cut the gap to just a point if they overcome Getafe on Monday.

Los Colchoneros face a tough run-in that sees them play champions Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad in three of their four remaining games.

Asked at a media conference if he was worried about not securing a top-four spot, Simeone said: "It occupies me. You have to know how to be in difficult moments and there have been a few in recent years. 

"We will see who is up for this difficult moment. The responsibility rests with me. I am the first one responsible for whether it happens or not.

"Everyone needs to stay calm, there are four games left."


Athletic were good value for their win, which came courtesy of an early Mario Hermoso own goal and a second-half penalty from Inaki Williams.

The result meant Atleti have now failed to score in their past two LaLiga games – the first time they have done that since October 2020 when they drew blanks against Huesca and Villarreal.

Simeone had no complaints with his side's effort, though, and said there is no lack of desire to achieve a top-four spot.

"The first few minutes weren't good, then the team improved," he said. "Their first goal hit Hermoso and went in; Carrasco's strike does the same but goes wide. These are the small details that matter.

"If you see how they train, how they work and commit to doing what we say, then there is nothing to say. There is no lack of commitment or intensity.

"There is anxiety and the desire to achieve the goal of the club."

Atleti are next in action on May 8 when they host Los Blancos in El Derbi at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Atletico Madrid missed the chance to strengthen their grip on a Champions League qualification place after they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

On the day Atletico saw their LaLiga crown taken by bitter rivals Real Madrid, Diego Simeone's men started sluggishly and were duly punished inside 10 minutes when Mario Hermoso turned Inaki Williams' cross into his own net.

Williams, who was a constant threat, then sealed all three points in the 56th minute from the penalty spot. 

Atletico remain in fourth, yet fifth-placed Real Betis can cut the gap to just a point if they overcome Getafe on Monday. Athletic, meanwhile, remain eighth.

Athletic's bright start was rewarded in the eighth minute when Hermoso deflected Williams' cross past Jan Oblak after the forward outmuscled Jose Gimenez.

Williams came agonisingly close to scoring for himself soon after, the 27-year-old's inswinging cross from the left missing everyone and bouncing off Oblak's left-hand post.

Geoffrey Kondogbia flashed wide as Atleti woke from their slumber shortly before the interval, while Yannick Carrasco saw an effort deflected just past Unai Simon's upright after a surging run.

Athletic doubled their advantage a few moments after Antoine Griezmann had thundered a free-kick against the crossbar, Williams clipping his spot-kick down the middle after Hector Herrera had brought down Iker Muniain just inside the area. 

Muniain and Nico Williams were denied in quick succession by Oblak as Athletic looked to add further gloss to the scoreline, while Angel Correa saw an effort deflected against the post deep into stoppage time for luckless Atletico.


Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone backed "one of the best in the world" Antoine Griezmann to return to form, while he offered his support for Luis Suarez amid a lean spell.

Simeone's side sit fourth in LaLiga, four points clear of fifth-placed Real Betis and appear set to secure Champions League qualification.

However, the form of forward Griezmann and the out of favour Suarez has come under scrutiny in the absence of the injured Joao Felix.

Griezmann has just three LaLiga goals in 21 appearances this season, finding the net once every 448 minutes on average, and has not scored in his last eight league games.

But Simeone insists the France international needs just one strike to regain his confidence as Atletico prepare to visit Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

"Antoine is not converting goals in recent games, his performances have not been what he is accustomed to," Simeone told reporters at a pre-match news conference on Friday.

"He is one of the players with the most goals in the history of Atletico... He always works, he is always committed to the collective work of the team, I have no doubt that he will come out of this situation. 

"It's Griezmann, one of the best in the world, what he needs is to find a goal, which will give him confidence. From that, we will see the Griezmann who we were used to in previous years."

Only Fernando Torres (102 in 281 games) has more goals than Griezmann for Atletico in LaLiga history, the latter scoring 97 times in his 201 appearances for the club.


Suarez's form has also been a concern for Simeone, with the Uruguay international limited to appearances from the bench and scoring just twice in his last seven league games (both against Alaves).

The former Liverpool and Barcelona talisman is still Atletico's joint-top scorer this season, his 11 LaLiga goals only matched by Angel Correa, and Simeone hopes Suarez will soon find his feet again.

"I have no doubt that Luis will always score goals, with his team-mates, when he plays, in the Uruguayan team... because he has the ability to score," Simeone added.

"Hopefully if he comes in from the start or comes on in the game, he will make his mark on them. It's what he wants, what he feels, and what he lives off."

Suarez has failed to score in his last five away games against Athletic in the Spanish top flight, having previously netted on his first two visits to San Mames in LaLiga – both in 2015 with Barcelona.

Whether Suarez can regain his confidence against Marcelino's side remains to be seen, but Simeone knows the Basque side will pose a tough task.

"Marcelino is a very good coach, he makes his teams play well and that makes them complex to face," he continued.

"Also, whenever we have faced him he has very good teams, which usually have very good footballers. 

"This means that the matches are tight due to the characteristics of the team that Marcelino creates. I can't imagine a match that isn't tight."

Barcelona boss Xavi has been impressed by his side's January signings.

Xavi has overseen an unbeaten run of nine league matches, as his rejuvenated team chase Champions League qualification, while the Catalan giants also claimed a 5-3 aggregate win over Serie A title contenders Napoli in the Europa League. 

Barca's performances have been buoyed by the arrivals of Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the latter of the trio becoming just the fourth player to score in the Spanish, English, German, and French top flights this century when he netted a hat-trick in a 4-1 thrashing of Valencia last week.

Each of the trio then registered goal contributions in Barca's thrilling 4-2 win in Naples on Thursday, and Xavi was keen to highlight the impact that his new forwards have had on his side.

Zinedine Zidane insisted he does not know what is going to happen concerning his future at Real Madrid, but did little to quell talk of him quitting amid rumours of an impending resignation.

ZIdane has a contract with Madrid until the end of next season but reports have suggested he will end his second stint as the club's coach prematurely even if they win LaLiga. Madrid trail city rivals Atletico Madrid by two points with two games remaining.

Talk of him departing was predictably a hot topic ahead of Sunday's visit to Athletic Bilbao, with Zidane adamant his future is not in his thinking as Los Blancos bid to retain the title.

"I'm going to answer the same thing," he told a pre-match media conference. "It's boring because of what I always say, playing both games ... It's the truth, I don't know what's going to happen.

"I am here, yes, tomorrow we are going to play and the last game will be missing [from his thinking]. The rest I do not know, anything can happen, it is Real Madrid.

"My strength is from day to day, I do not see myself beyond day to day. I do not look at the past or the future, it is the present to the fullest."

However, asked if he was "making it easy for the club", Zidane appeared to drop several hints that this spell as coach is about to come to a close.

"Maybe you think I'm quitting because I'm taking responsibility or I'm quitting because things get complicated. Never, nothing," Zidane replied.

"The only thing is that what I do, I do it to the max. And there comes a time when things ... It's time to change. But for everyone, not for me. For the good of the players, the club, the people.

"I don't let go because it's easy to say that I take off, turn around and don't want to look at them, moments are like that. There are moments when you have to be and others when you have to change."

Madrid have not lost a league game since January, but damaging draws with Getafe, Real Betis and Sevilla have left them needing a slip-up from Atletico to tilt the title race in their favour.

They have won 10 of their last 15 away games against Athletic but Los Leones coach Marcelino has won his last two meetings against Madrid.

"We have to watch and do what we can control, which is our game," said Zidane. "In the rest we don't know what will happen.

"The important thing is to keep adding and we want to win the three points. We are going to be playing against a very good opponent, he is doing very well and we will try to give everything."

Barcelona were boosted on Tuesday as Ronald Koeman's squad received the COVID-19 all-clear in the wake of two members of staff testing positive.

A morning training session was called off as players underwent tests to determine whether the virus may have spread among the group.

But there were no positives detected and that meant Koeman's charges could train in the evening, ahead of playing Wednesday's match against Athletic Bilbao.

A club statement read: "In accordance with LaLiga protocol, the FC Barcelona first-team squad undertook PCR tests on Tuesday morning. All tests came back negative."

The Camp Nou giants said on Monday that two members of the first-team staff had returned positives for coronavirus, and sports and health authorities were informed about those results.

Koeman's team sit fifth in LaLiga ahead of their trip to the Basque Country to play Athletic, who are ninth.

Barcelona, who are 10 points off the top of LaLiga, have won the previous two matches on their travels after going four away league games without a win.

Barcelona have called off their scheduled Tuesday training session after two members of first team staff tested positive for coronavirus.

Ronald Koeman’s side were due to be preparing for their LaLiga match against Athletic Bilbao at Sam Mames Stadium on Wednesday.

The Catalan club informed sports and health authorities after Monday's test results.

A club statement read: "The whole squad will undergo further PCR testing on Tuesday morning local time in line with La Liga protocol.

"As a result the training session planned for tomorrow Tuesday at 11.00am CET has been postponed.

"The new time for training and the subsequent press conference ahead of Athletic Club v FC Barcelona will be announced tomorrow [Tuesday]." 

Koeman’s team are fifth in the table ahead of their trip to the Basque region to play Athletic, who are eighth.

Barca, who are 10 points off the top of LaLiga, have won their previous two on their travels after going four away league games without a win.

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