Jude Bellingham’s electric start to life at Real Madrid continued as he scored in a 2-1 Champions League win at Braga.

The precocious England international scored his 11th goal in 12 games for his new club as Madrid took control of Group C, making it three wins out of three.

Rodrygo put Madrid ahead in the first half before Bellingham doubled the lead on the hour, with Alvaro Djalo getting the Portuguese side back in it.

Los Blancos had chances to kill the game off but were made to sweat, with victory putting them on the verge of qualification for the knockout stage.

The visitors were under the cosh in the opening exchanges as Braga started well.

But they weathered the storm and took a 16th-minute lead with a goal that saw them go from back to front in a flash.

Nacho’s long ball set Vinicius Junior free down the left, he beat his marker and squared for Rodrygo to slide home at the near post.

Braga still asked questions and Al-Musrati almost levelled when a corner fell to him at the far post but his shot was deflected over.

Madrid showed it only took a moment to cut their hosts open and Vinicius tested Lukas Hornicek’s handling with a shot, while the Brazilian also missed a good chance when Bellingham slipped him in.

Bellingham was involved early on in the second half and fired a warning shot as he controlled Vincius’ cross on his chest and sent in a fierce left-footed half-volley, but Hornicek was equal to it and tipped it over.

There was nothing he could do about the former Borussia Dortmund man’s effort in the 61st minute as Bellingham controlled Vinicius’s pass on the edge of the area and coolly stroked home into the bottom corner.

If Madrid thought the game was safe they were mistaken as just three minutes later Braga hit back.

Simon Banza played in Djalo, who was given too much space and fired into the roof of the net.

Vinicius thought he had killed the game as he raced clear and converted in the final 10 minutes but VAR ruled it out for a marginal offside.

It meant Carlo Ancellotti’s side faced a nervy few minutes, but they held on to continue their 100 per cent record.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti insists he does not have “freedom of expression” to talk about referees as he prepares his side for their Champions League Group C trip to Sporting Braga.

Ancelotti appeared to back referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea after the weekend draw in Sevilla but later conceded on his club’s official media channels that he used “irony” when questioned about officials.

In a pre-match press conference dominated by questions about the state of refereeing, Ancelotti refused the opportunity to echo Spanish referees’ chief Pedro Rocha and call officials from the country the best in the world.

Ancelotti said: “If you ask me who the best players in the world are, I say Real Madrid players. There are some very good referees with a lot of experience and there are others who need to improve.

“You know that I don’t have freedom of expression when it comes to talking about referees. If I say what I think, I get suspended and I want to work and make the most of the matches, which excite me. I can’t answer these kinds of questions.”

Ancelotti says his players will not be distracted by next week’s El Clasico against Barcelona as they look to make a statement by winning their second straight game in the group.

“We’ve never talked about the next game we have in the league, we’re focused and dedicated to the one we’re playing right now,” added Ancelotti.

“The players are making the most of it and recovering well to get to full strength for tomorrow’s game, which is the most important one at the moment.”

Real are once again without Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao but David Alaba is expected to feature after coming through against Sevilla, while Nacho is in the squad despite currently serving a domestic suspension.

Braga, bidding for a fifth straight win in all competitions, fought back from 2-0 down to beat Union Berlin 3-2 in Germany in their previous Group C match earlier this month.

Artur Jorge’s side finished third in the Portuguese top flight last season to secure Champions League football for the first time in 11 years and beat Serbia’s Backa Topla and Panathinaikos to reach the group stage.

Former Braga defender Jorge is relishing Braga’s first-ever meeting with the Spanish giants.

He told a press conference: “This game will be very special and will go down in Braga’s history.

“We are playing against one of the best teams in the world, but we always seek to be competitive and fight in every match. We will have our opportunities and must try to be effective in the big moments.”

A Sevilla supporter was ejected from their LaLiga match with Real Madrid after allegedly directing racist abuse towards Vinicius Jr during the 1-1 draw.

The Brazil international played 88 minutes of the fixture at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan where Madrid captain Dani Carvajal’s header 12 minutes from time cancelled out David Alaba’s own goal.

Vinicius Jr later posted on social media about being on the receiving end of racism during the match on Saturday night, which Sevilla have now confirmed was the case.

A club statement read: “Sevilla FC would like to communicate that, after detecting xenophobic and racist behaviour, a member of the public was identified, ejected from the stadium and handed over to legal authorities.

“The individual will also be subject to the club’s vigorous internal disciplinary protocols and have their membership revoked.

“Sevilla FC condemns all racist and xenophobic behaviour and will work closely with the authorities to ensure that action is taken accordingly. This behaviour does not belong at Sevilla FC.”

Vinicius Jr was in the thick of the action throughout the draw, denied a penalty at the end of the first half before he was booked five minutes from time after he clashed with Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, which sparked a brief melee between both sets of players.

It was only back in May when Madrid filed racism directed at Vinicius Jr as a “hate crime” to the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office following a string of alleged racist attacks aimed at the 23-year-old.

LaLiga called at the time for a legislation change to allow them to impose punishment on clubs for episodes of racist abuse and Vinicius Jr has stressed once more the need for change, especially with Spain hoping to host the 2030 World Cup alongside Portugal and Morocco.

“Congratulations to Sevilla on the quick positioning and the penalty in another sad episode for Spanish Football,” Vinicius Jr said in a social media post.

“Unfortunately I have access to a video of another racist act at this Saturday’s game, this time carried out by a child. So sad there is no one to educate her. I invest, and I invest a lot, in education in Brazil to train citizens with different attitudes.

“The face of today’s racist is stamped on websites as on several other times. I hope the Spanish authorities do their part and change the legislation once and for all. These people need to be criminally punished too.

“It would be a great first step to prepare for the 2030 World Cup. I am here to help.

“Sorry to sound repetitive but it’s episode number 19. And counting.”

Dani Carvajal’s 78th-minute header rescued a point for Real Madrid at Sevilla and ensured they will travel to Barcelona next weekend as LaLiga leaders.

Madrid prepared for the first ‘El Clasico’ of the season with a battling 1-1 draw at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan where Carlo Ancelotti’s side were on course for a second loss of the campaign when David Alaba put through his own net.

Carvajal levelled with a pinpoint header from Toni Kroos’ free-kick before ex-Madrid captain Sergio Ramos squandered an excellent chance in stoppage time to earn new Sevilla head coach Diego Alonso victory in his maiden match in charge.

The 1-1 draw moves Madrid onto 25 points ahead of Girona and Barcelona playing their respective fixtures on Sunday, but both of their nearest challengers are unable to move above the Bernabeu outfit ahead of next weekend’s clash at the Olympic Stadium in Catalonia.

Madrid were left frustrated, though, after they had two early goals disallowed, with in-form Jude Bellingham denied after referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea halted play to check on Sevilla’s Lucas Ocampos, who had a back injury, while the visitors were on a counter-attack.

Atletico Madrid temporarily moved up to second in the table after Antoine Griezmann hit a hat-trick at Celta Vigo.

Home goalkeeper Ivan Villar was sent off after 25 minutes for giving away a penalty but former Crystal Palace stopper Vicente Guaita was unable to thwart Griezmann from 12 yards.

Griezmann would go on to score twice more in the second half to complete his treble and pile the pressure on Celta boss Rafael Benitez.

Real Sociedad edged out visiting Mallorca after Brais Mendez grabbed the only goal of the game in the 64th minute at Reale Arena.

The points were shared at Estadio Coliseum after Marc Roca’s first-minute opener for Real Betis was cancelled out by Borja Mayoral’s header for hosts Getafe.

 

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In Serie A, Lautaro Martinez struck his 12th goal of the season to send Inter Milan back to the summit with a 3-0 win at Torino.

After a goalless first half, Marcus Thuram broke the deadlock in the 59th minute before Martinez and Hakan Calhanoglu, via the penalty spot, added further goals for Simone Inzaghi’s side.

Napoli secured a 3-1 victory on the road at Verona thanks to Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s double to ease the pressure on Rudi Garcia.

Meanwhile, first-half efforts by Felipe Anderson and Luis Alberto earned Lazio all three points with a 2-0 triumph away to Sassuolo.

In France, Kylian Mbappe’s early penalty sent Paris St Germain on their way to a 3-0 win over Strasbourg.

A 10th-minute spot-kick from Mbappe got the ball rolling for PSG before Carlos Soler and Fabian Ruiz also netted in a routine success that saw them leapfrog Monaco at the top of Ligue 1.

Evann Guessand’s 79th-minute header secured Nice a 1-0 win and bragging rights over Marseille.

Harry Kane continued his excellent form with another goal in Bayern Munich’s 3-1 victory at Mainz, but Bayer Leverkusen remain Bundesliga leaders following a hard-fought triumph over Wolfsburg.

Kingsley Coman and Kane netted in the opening 16 minutes at MEWA Arena before Anthony Caci reduced the deficit before half-time for Mainz.

Leon Goretzka wrapped up the points before the hour mark to help Thomas Tuchel’s men extend their unbeaten start to eight matches.

Leverkusen top the table after they took their points tally to 22 out of a possible 24 thanks to Alex Grimaldo’s 62nd-minute strike in a 2-1 win at Wolfsburg.

Stuttgart are second after an impressive 3-0 victory at Union Berlin while RB Leipzig are fifth after Lois Openda’s brace inspired a 3-1 triumph over Darmstadt.

Elsewhere, Freiburg beat Bochum 2-1 and Frankfurt clinched a 3-1 win at Hoffenheim.

Dani Carvajal’s 78th-minute header rescued a point for LaLiga leaders Real Madrid during a frustrating 1-1 draw at Sevilla.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men had two early goals disallowed before David Alaba put through his own net to raise the possibility of a second defeat of the season.

Sevilla were denied a first victory under the tenure of Diego Alonso though when Carvajal headed home Toni Kroos’ late free-kick to ensure Madrid will go into next weekend’s ‘El Clasico’ at rivals Barcelona as divisional leaders.

Ancelotti rotated his options for the trip to Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, with Alaba, Kroos and Rodrygo recalled to the starting line-up after the 4-0 victory over Osasuna a fortnight ago.

Sevilla had changed management during the international break and new head coach Alonso almost watched his team go behind after only four minutes.

Federico Valverde was first to a loose ball outside the area and then latched on to Jude Bellingham’s lay off before his cross-shot deflected into the net via ex-team-mate Sergio Ramos.

It was subsequently ruled out though after Bellingham had been in an offside position when he collected Valverde’s header.

The LaLiga leaders were celebrating again in the eighth minute but referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea had controversially already blown his whistle to stop play by the time Bellingham rolled into the empty net.

Madrid broke at lightning pace after Antonio Rudiger nipped in to beat Lucas Ocampos, who went down after being caught in the back, and Rodrygo raced through on goal, rounded Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland and flicked into the path of Bellingham, who slotted into the corner.

Referee de Burgos Bengoetxea had already signalled a halt to proceedings to seemingly check on Ocampos before play resumed with a drop ball for Madrid, despite the visitors expressing their bemusement at the early stoppage of play.

Sevilla settled after a difficult start and should have broken the deadlock in the 23rd minute.

Ocampos embarked on a fine run and played into Ivan Rakitic, who showed great composure to cut inside Kroos, but his left-footed effort was cleared off the line by Madrid captain Carvajal.

The danger was not over there, with the ball being cleared to Ocampos but his 25-yard curler was pushed away by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

 

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Alonso’s men were buoyed by that opportunity and created another opening minutes later when Ocampos flicked into the path of Djibril Sow, who curled wide from a promising position.

Madrid remained a constant threat and their old captain Ramos denied Alaba in the 34th-minute with a wonderful block following Kroos’ wicked set-piece delivery.

A breathless half ended goalless but the visitors were unhappy as they walked off at the break after Vinicius Jr had gone down under contact from Navas minutes before the first 45 were up.

The same duo were involved in a flashpoint at the beginning of the second period when Navas flicked the ball through Vinicius Jr’s legs and Ferland Mendy reacted by barging into the Sevilla captain, but referee de Burgos Bengoetxea kept his cards in his pocket.

Nyland had to be alert soon after to deny Rodrygo’s low effort before Ramos impressively blocked a volley by Kroos.

The influence of ex-Madrid captain Ramos continued to grow and he played his part in Sevilla making the breakthrough with 16 minutes left.

Ramos passed out wide to Navas, who whipped in a wicked delivery from the left that team-mate Youssef En-Nesyri missed, but Alaba could only deflect the ball beyond his own goalkeeper Kepa.

Sevilla’s celebrations were cut short four minutes later when Madrid captain Carvajal headed home at the near-post after he beat En-Nesyri in the air to a Kroos free-kick.

It set up a grandstand finish in Andalusia and Ramos was at the centre of the action with Kepa saving his header before Ocampos drilled wide following an excellent run by Navas.

Ocampos and Ramos were involved as tempers started to rise late on when Vinicius Jr and Nyland clashed over the hosts’ attempts to time waste.

There was still time for stoppage-time drama with Ramos heading over from two yards from Suso’s cross before a last-gasp Kroos free-kick was hit straight down the throat of Nyland, which ensured it finished 1-1 in Seville.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has warned his players they must continue to make sacrifices as his side look to extend their lead at the top of LaLiga with victory at Sevilla on Saturday.

Ancelotti has deployed some players in unfamiliar positions with Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni moved back into defence and Rodrygo admitting he was not happy playing at centre forward.

But with a tough schedule ahead including next week’s El Clasico, Ancelotti made no apologies for his positional switches and said he would continue to ask his players to put the interests of his team first.

Ancelotti told a press conference: “It’s important to know where each player wants to play, and sometimes the demands of the team mean that some players have to make sacrifices.

“Camavinga, Tchouameni or Rodrygo have done that. Rodrygo is a complete forward and can play in the centre, as he did at Napoli. My idea is that the team’s demands come first and then the individual’s.”

Ancelotti’s men headed into the international break on the back of four straight wins and the Italian admitted he was concerned that they would be able to regain that momentum as speculation continues to swirl over his future.

“The team’s on a good run and it’s going to be an important week,” said Ancelotti, whose side also face a Champions League trip to Portugal to face Sporting Braga.

“I’m worried about quite a few things this week. The Sevilla game will be very demanding. They’ve changed coach and they have a lot of quality in their squad. It’s going to be a tough match.

“I’m more concerned that we might have forgotten what we did before the international break. We were playing well and I hope we can get back to the same level.”

Saturday’s game, which represents Real’s 3,000th in LaLiga, will also bring Ancelotti face to face with Sergio Ramos, who was integral to Ancelotti’s success during his first spell at the club between 2013 and 2015.

And Ancelotti admitted that he probably would not have got a second crack at the Madrid job had Ramos not scored the famous stoppage-time equaliser in their 2014 Champions League final with city rivals Atletico, which they went on to win.

“I love seeing him and saying hello,” added Ancelotti.

“Obviously, all the players I’ve had I’m very fond of, and I am especially of him. If he hadn’t scored in the final in Lisbon, I probably wouldn’t be here.

“For everything he’s done, I think everyone’s very fond of him, especially me. He’ll have a great game because he’s got real quality.”

What the papers say

Jude Bellingham could face a fight for his Real Madrid shirt in the future – from his own brother. According to the Daily Mirror, via Spanish outlet El Nacional, scouts from the Bernabeu were sent to watch Sunderland midfielder Jobe Bellingham, 18, play for England Under-19s in Montenegro.

Chelsea fans are facing a further wait before catching a first glimpse of midfielder Romeo Lavia in action for the Blues. The Daily Mail reports the 19-year-old Belgian, signed from Southampton in the summer, will be out until the end of November after injuring an ankle in training.

And Chelsea face losing another young talent with Barcelona tracking Dutch defender Ian Maatsen. The left-back, 21, turned down a summer move to Burnley but having made just one Premier League start this season, Barcelona are watching the situation with his contract ending in the summer, according to The Sun via Catalan outlet Sport.

Manchester City are close to tying up academy graduate Oscar Bobb to a long-term deal, according to the Daily Mirror. The winger, 20, is highly rated by boss Pep Guardiola and is already a senior Norway international.

Social media round-up Players to watch.

Marc Guehi: Manchester United are looking at a possible move for Crystal Palace’s England defender, 23.

Wesley Gassova: Everton are one of several teams being linked with the Brazilian winger, 18, from Corinthian.

What the papers say

Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips could leave the club in January to go to German giants Bayern Munich, the Sun reports. The 27-year-old, who continues to struggle for game time under Pep Guardiola, would join up with England team-mate Harry Kane at the Bundesliga champions.

The Express says Newcastle are interested in Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe in the summer transfer window. The 23-year-old midfielder has already played twice for England but has only played in six games for Arsenal in all competitions this season.

The Saudi Pro League’s director of football has labelled Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as one of his “personal favourites” after the club turned down huge deals from Al Ittihad last summer, the Metro says.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Toni Kroos: Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo says Manchester City are interested in the 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder when his contact expires next summer.

Arthur Vermeeren: The 18-year-old midfielder at Royal Antwerp is being sought by Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard has announced his retirement at the age of 32.

Hazard won two Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge before moving to Real Madrid in 2019.

But the Belgian struggled with injuries and made just 76 appearances in four seasons at Real before leaving in the summer.

“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time,” he wrote on Instagram.


“After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer.

“I was able to realise my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world.

“During my career I was lucky to meet great managers, coaches and team-mates – thank you to everyone for these great times, I will miss you all.

“I also want to thank the clubs I have played for: LOSC, Chelsea and Real Madrid; and thank the RBFA for my Belgian selection.

“A special thank you to my family, my friends, my advisers and the people who have been close to me in good times and bad.

“Finally, a huge thank you to you, my fans, who have followed me for all these years and for your encouragement everywhere I have played.

“Now is the time to enjoy my loved ones and have new experiences.
See you off the field soon my friends.”

Hazard scored 110 goals in 352 appearances for Chelsea after joining from Lille in 2012.

England boss Gareth Southgate says it is “not a stupid question” to ask whether Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham is the best player in the world right now.

Having impressed at Birmingham and flourished at Borussia Dortmund, the 20-year-old midfielder has gone up another level since his big-money switch to Spain.

Bellingham has immediately established himself as one of Madrid’s main men and has scored 10 goals in 10 matches since moving to the Bernabeu for an initial £88.5million fee.

The midfielder scored a brace in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Osasuna, which will only increase talk of the midfielder being the world’s top player at the moment.

Asked if Bellingham was the best in the world right now, Southgate – speaking before the Real star’s two-goal showing on Saturday – said: “I wondered if you might say that!

“No, it’s not a stupid question. I haven’t seen everybody and studied everybody playing.

“All I can say is he’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world, arguably the biggest, and he’s playing exceptionally well and he’s currently the match-winner for them so he’s in a brilliant place.”

Bellingham has quickly established himself as a fan favourite at the Bernabeu, where he has added more goals to his game playing in a more advanced position.

The 20-year-old scored a solo stunner in Tuesday’s 3-2 Champions League win at Napoli, with Spanish media comparing him to Diego Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano.

“He’s playing higher,” Southgate said. “We played him higher against Scotland, he had that freedom in the Ukraine game as well, we didn’t use the game well enough in the final third.

“But he’s always looked dangerous and had an impact around the opposing box with Dortmund and with us, without looking quite as calm as he has this season in front of goal.

“It’s brilliant to have people who can win games.

“He’s been the match-winner for Real Madrid and the start for him has been absolutely phenomenal. I’m chuffed to bits for him.”

Asked if Bellingham is a number 10 who could play up top on his own without a number nine, the England boss said: “Well, there are lots of different number 10s, aren’t there?

“The 10s I played against, (Dennis) Bergkamp, (Gianfranco) Zola probably were forwards that dropped deeper rather than the other way round.

“Jude is a more powerful player than those, slightly different. More of a midfield player, who’s going to make midfield runs. That doesn’t mean he’s any less effective, as we’ve seen.

“Their team have found a nice balance with the athletic midfield they have behind and, having lost (Karim) Benzema as they did and lost Vinicius (to injury) as they did, they have been adapting.

“He’s been defending on the left wing in a couple of games and I can just imagine the reaction from all and sundry if I asked him to do that!

“So, look, he’s doing brilliantly well and that’s the beauty of some of the options we’ve got. We can play players in different positions. They’re good players so they can adapt.”

Bellingham will now join up with England for a Wembley double-header, with Friday’s friendly against Australia followed by a Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy.

Southgate largely stuck with the tried and tested with his selection for October’s fixtures, meaning vice-captain Jordan Henderson kept his place after his controversial move to Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia.

“His physical data is fine,” Southgate said of the former Liverpool skipper. “The games are not at the same intensity as the games here. The heat is part of that.

“There are two or three drinks breaks per game, which is an indication of the climate, and that his having an impact on how teams play.

“It is a situation that we are tracking closely. I will go out and watch games. But we get all his games the same way we get everybody else’s.

“That’s a longer trip and in these first couple of months we’ve felt it more important to see as many games live as we can, as quickly as possible, by getting around our country more.

“But as time moves on, we’ll get to more of the Milans, the Madrids and the Bayern Munichs, as well as out to see Hendo.”

Jude Bellingham made it 10 goals in 10 games for Real Madrid with a clinical brace in a 4-0 victory over Osasuna that saw Carlo Ancelotti’s men return to the top of LaLiga.

The England midfielder struck in either half before Vinicius Junior and Joselu wrapped up the points as Madrid reclaimed top spot from Girona, who had won earlier in the day.

Madrid needed just nine minutes to get their noses in front at the Bernabeu and, almost inevitably, it was Bellingham who did the damage.

Luka Modric picked out Dani Carvajal’s run into the area and the full-back cleverly laid the ball back to Bellingham, who took a couple of touches before drilling a left-footed shot into the roof of the net.

That was a third goal in eight days for Bellingham as he continued his phenomenal start to life in Spain since his £88.5million summer move from Borussia Dortmund.

It was also all that separated the sides in the first half, with Madrid unable to break through again despite trying their luck through a Vinicius shot that went over and an attempted Carvajal chip that Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera was equal to.

Osasuna, meanwhile, had threatened little in the opening 45 minutes but gave their hosts a double scare just before half-time when Jon Moncayola’s strike from distance went inches wide before Ante Budimir spurned a great chance to level in stoppage time.

Ruben Pena’s cross was left by Lucas Torro for team-mate Budimir, who was unmarked near the penalty spot, but the Croatia international fired over.

Perhaps spooked by those let-offs, or inspired by Ancelotti’s half-time input, Madrid came out firing in the second half and Joselu looked to have made it 2-0 only to see his shot skim the far post.

Madrid continued to push though and, after Eduardo Camavinga tried his luck from range, Bellingham doubled their lead in the 54th minute.

The 20-year-old drove at the Osasuna defence on the edge of the area, played a one-two with Federico Valverde and then coolly finished between Herrera’s legs.

If that did not end Osasuna’s challenge, then Joselu’s goal to make it 3-0 in the 65th minute most definitely did.

Madrid broke quickly after winning possession, with Valverde threading Vinicius through from the halfway line and the winger sprinted clear before rounding Herrera and slotting home.

Vinicius then turned provider as rampant Madrid added a fourth goal in the 69th minute.

The Brazil international superbly brought down a long ball forward from Aurelien Tchouameni, then showed good strength to hold off his marker before slipping in Joselu to fire into the corner of the net.

Madrid had chances to add to their tally after that, the best of which saw Joselu denied from the penalty spot by Herrera following a handball in the area, but the result was long settled by then.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insists only a top-drawer performance from his players will suffice if they are to overcome Osasuna on Saturday.

Los Blancos top LaLiga with seven wins and one defeat from their opening eight games, one point above their bitter rivals Barcelona.

Osasuna are the visitors on Saturday, with the team from Pamplona unbeaten on their last two encounters at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Italian coach Ancelotti knows Real cannot afford to have an off-day.

“We want to finish (the period heading into the international break) well, taking into account that Osasuna is a difficult rival and has always played good games here,” he told a press conference.

“Plus, we haven’t beaten them the last two times. We have to be at our best to get the three points.

“We will try to play well and play fast football, with intensity, to find offensive solutions as soon as possible.

“Osasuna is a team that defends very well and will try to throw us off to hurt us. We must attack with intelligence and avoid risks behind.”

Real recovered from losing 3-1 in the Madrid derby to Atletico on September 24 to record three straight wins in all competitions, including a 3-2 away victory at Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Ancelotti said Austrian defender David Alaba was not fit to return due to an adductor problem.

“We have the option of (Ferland) Mendy or (Aurelien) Tchouameni . We will adapt well and defensive work depends on the team, not on individuals,” Ancelotti added.

“We have tested Tchouameni in these two days of training and he has a defensive attitude – he is good in duels and heading. Mendy is a defender and is used to playing on the backline.”

Ancelotti said Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior was “happy to play” despite his appearance in court in Valencia this week to testify against three fans accused of racially abusing him.

The Italian said he did not think Croatian playmaker Luka Modric was considering leaving the club in January.

“He thinks he is an important player and so do we,” Ancelotti said.

“He is going to be very important this season and we are happy with him. I speak with Modric every day and he continues to maintain high motivation and enthusiasm to contribute something to the team.

“What he brings to the locker room no one can bring. He has charisma and is important even when he doesn’t play. That he does not play affects him and all of us who love Modric . He played 30 minutes in Naples and that means a lot to us.”

Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate said his team would have to “roll up their sleeves and get together”.

“We are going to be defending for a long time, we are going to be subdued, and we have to have a good defensive organisation, we have to be forceful and we need our goalkeeper to be good,” he said.

“All that is clear, but we also need to let go, have the ball, make them run backwards so that the game has two directions, not just one.”

Jude Bellingham’s dream start to life at Real Madrid continued as his mesmerising solo goal helped the Spanish giants down Napoli to make it two wins from two in this season’s Champions League.

Having grabbed a last-gasp winner to see off Union Berlin a fortnight ago, Bellingham first teed up Vinicius Junior to score after Leo Ostigard had put Napoli ahead at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Bellingham’s fabulous driving run and strike put Real ahead and, although they were pegged back by Piotr Zielinski’s penalty, Federico Valverde’s venomous strike rebounded off Alex Meret as Napoli lost 3-2.

Bellingham’s stunning goal – his eighth in nine matches since moving to the Spanish capital in the summer – threatened to be overshadowed by a contentious penalty awarded to the hosts.

Nacho Fernandez was penalised as the ball inadvertently cannoned off his legs into his arm after he had slid to cut out a cross from Victor Osimhen. While a corner was awarded on-field, referee Emil Bozinovski reversed his decision and gave a spot-kick after being summoned to the VAR monitor.

But Meret’s own goal saw Carlo Ancelotti enjoy a winning return to the side he managed from May 2018 to December 2019 as Real moved on to six points to go top of Group C.

Bellingham was immediately into the thick of proceedings as a long ball allowed Rodrygo to stretch his legs, although the Brazilian was unsettled enough by Stanislav Lobotka to shoot straight at Meret.

Bellingham and Aurelien Tchouameni blazed over, but Napoli opened the scoring in the 19th minute, thanks in part to Real goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga missing a punch to clear Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s corner.

Although Bernardo Natan’s looping header thudded back off the bar, Ostigard was able to leap over Real defender Dani Carvajal to nod the rebound into an empty net.

The lead lasted eight minutes as Bellingham stretched to intercept Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s clumsy pass deep in Napoli’s half before teeing up Vinicius, who calmly slotted across Meret from an acute angle.

Real then went ahead for the first time in the 34th minute thanks to some magic from Bellingham, who collected on halfway, drove forward into the area and bulldozed his way round Ostigard before tucking a right-footed effort into the corner past Meret for his second Champions League goal in two matches.

Kepa atoned for his earlier error by getting a strong hand to keep out a header from Osimhen, who came out on top in an aerial battle with Antonio Rudiger, to keep Real ahead at half-time.

However, Napoli got the benefit of a questionable VAR decision after Osimhen’s attempted cross was cut out in the area by Nacho, whose sliding challenge ricocheted off his arm and out of play.

Bozinovski seemed bemused after being told to wait, but when he was called to the monitor the referee duly awarded a penalty, converted via a post by Zielinski, who scored his 50th Napoli goal.

That moment of fortune lifted Napoli as Kvaratskhelia shot wide before Zielinski saw his stinging drive from distance palmed away by Kepa, with Real forced to soak up some intense pressure on the hour.

Shortly after Ancelotti sent on Luka Modric, Real went close to retaking the lead as Carvajal’s snap shot was parried into the path of Bellingham, who headed the rebound wide, to his dismay.

But Real went ahead with 12 minutes left as Modric’s corner was only cleared to Valverde, who brought the ball down and unleashed a thunderbolt that crashed off the crossbar then thumped off the back of an unsuspecting Meret, who had been beaten for pace by the shot, before nestling in the net.

Ostigard forced Kepa into a save late on as Real rode a few nervy moments to pick up an important win.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti would not be drawn on whether he thinks Jude Bellingham is currently the best midfielder in the world.

Bellingham, 20, scored his eighth goal in eight appearances in all competitions for Real in Saturday’s 3-0 LaLiga win at Girona.

He scored the winner in the Spanish giants’ opening Champions League game against Union Berlin two weeks ago and will aim to maintain his dream start for Ancelotti’s side in Italy against Group C rivals Napoli on Tuesday night.

Ancelotti told a press conference: “I think Bellingham has adapted very well to his new team. He’s doing very well and is showing all of his quality.

“If someone thinks he’s the best in the world then great. I think we have the best team in the world.”

Ancelotti is under no illusions as to the size of his side’s task on his return to the club who sacked him after 18 months in charge in 2019.

“Coming back here makes me remember the time I lived in the city. In this wonderful city,” Ancelotti added. “There were good moments, others less so, but the experience was positive.

“The match is the toughest for us in this group, but the reality is that we are used to it. The Real Madrid shirt weighs on us and will also weigh on the opponent.

“We are playing against one of the strongest teams in Italy, who did very well a year ago.”

Napoli, who beat Braga 2-1 in Portugal in their opening group game, sit third in Serie A, four points behind top two Inter and Milan.

Head coach Rudi Garcia, whose side appear to be hitting top form after back-to-back 4-1 and 4-0 wins against Udinese and Lecce, described Ancelotti’s squad as “unique”.

Garcia told a press conference: “They were good at signing Bellingham to replace (Karim) Benzema although they don’t cover the same position, but they were also good at signing Joselu.

“They have many valuable players technically, but also tall and strong players for set pieces.

“They have many strong footballers with technique and physicality. I don’t know who Carlo Ancelotti will play, but we must be focused on ourselves and know who we face.”

Garcia said there was nothing to compare with the Champions League, adding: “The Champions League is the best competition, it’s a special moment for coaches and players.

“Just listening to the music is enough to get motivation. Napoli must play in the Champions League every season.”

Jude Bellingham continued his fairytale start to life at Real Madrid with another starring performance in a 3-0 victory over previously undefeated Girona.

Bellingham set Real on their way with a superb assist for Joselu’s first-half opener and, after Aurelien Tchouameni had made it 2-0, the England midfielder wrapped things up with his seventh goal for the Spanish giants.

Real Madrid’s victory, their seventh in eight LaLiga games, saw them return to the top of the table with Girona dropping from second to third.

The final scoreline was harsh on a Girona side who had recorded six successive wins since their opening-weekend draw at Real Sociedad, but the Catalan underdogs paid the price for not taking their chances.

Madrid have developed an unwelcome habit of conceding early goals this season and Girona could easily have been 2-0 up inside the opening five minutes.

Yangel Herrera should have done better with a header which cleared the crossbar before Viktor Tsygankov struck the outside of the post with a far-post header that left flew across the outstretched hand of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Real were riding their luck but took the lead in the 18th minute following a moment of magic from Bellingham.

The summer signing from Borussia Dortmund curled in an inch-perfect cross with the outside of his right foot which picked out Joselu’s run at the far post and the Spain striker’s finish was too powerful for Paulo Gazzaniga to keep out.

The buoyant visitors were celebrating a second goal barely three minutes later when Tchouameni escaped his marker at a corner to power home a header.

Girona were suddenly looking shaky at the back and Bellingham almost made it 3-0 in the 28th minute after racing onto Vinicius Jr’s pass, with Gazzaniga denying the 20-year-old.

Gazzaniga also produced a fine save to tip over Toni Kroos’ effort on the stroke of half-time as Madrid looked to finish their opponents off before the break.

However, Girona managed to keep the deficit at two goals going into the interval and, like in the first half, they came out all guns blazing at the start of the second and should have pulled a goal back.

The unmarked David Lopez saw his powerful header from a free-kick parried away by Kepa before Herrera headed another good opportunity down into the ground and over the bar.

That was as close as Girona would come to getting back into the game, though, and Real wrapped up the points with Bellingham again centre stage.

The £88.5million man was denied at close range by Gazzaniga just after the hour but there was no stopping the red-hot midfielder in the 71st minute as he made it 3-0 with a clinical finish.

Joselu saw his shot parried back to him by Gazzaniga and, after the ball looped up into the air off the forward, Bellingham pounced to fire a volley into the ground and past the helpless Girona keeper.

The hosts would have breathed a sigh of relief at seeing Bellingham substituted soon after, but the damage has been done, although Real’s win was soured following a late red card for Nacho Fernandez.

The visitors’ captain was initially shown a yellow card for his flying studs-up challenge on Cristian Portu, but that was quickly changed to a red after the referee consulted the pitchside monitor, and a touchline melee involving both teams followed.

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