Jude Bellingham scored on his return to action as Real Madrid beat lowly Cadiz 3-0 to move to the top of LaLiga.

Bellingham had missed the last two games for Los Blancos after suffering a shoulder injury in the 0-0 draw with Rayo Vallecano which also saw him ruled out on England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.

But the 20-year-old looked back to his best as he scored for the 11th time in 12 league appearances this season after being set up by Rodrygo, whose earlier brace had set the away side on their way to an impressive win.

Real went close to taking the lead in the third minute when Dani Carvajal’s attempted cross took a big deflection and almost caught out goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma, who was moving to his right in anticipation.

And the visitors did not have to wait long to break the deadlock in brilliant fashion, Rodrygo curling a right-footed shot into the top corner from just inside the area in the 14th minute.

Bellingham then failed to make enough contact on a dangerous cross from Luka Modric and the England midfielder also headed over after Chris Ramos sliced an attempted clearance back towards his own goal.

Cadiz were also creating chances and Roger Marti almost equalised with a left-footed shot which looked destined for the top corner until Andriy Lunin threw himself to his left and tipped the ball wide.

More goals always looked on the cards in an entertaining contest and, after Modric had struck the base of a post after 64 minutes, Real eventually doubled their lead on the counter-attack, Bellingham feeding Rodrygo to curl another superb finish beyond the despairing dive of Ledesma.

Rodrygo soon repaid the favour, finding Bellingham in acres of space on the left side of the area and he drilled a left-footed shot unerringly into the far corner.

With the points secure and games looming against Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday and Granada in the league three days later, it was no surprise to see Carlo Ancelotti substitute his star duo four minutes after Bellingham’s goal.

To their credit, Cadiz continued to press forward in pursuit of a goal that their performance deserved and Brian Ocampo’s injury-time effort was well saved by Lunin, but the defeat leaves them 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone.

Real moved a point above Girona at the top of the table ahead of the latter’s game at home to Athletic Bilbao on Monday.

Carlo Ancelotti is confident Real Madrid can cope with their current injury problems ahead of Sunday’s trip to Cadiz.

Madrid are on a run of seven LaLiga matches without defeat and will be out to go top of the table with a win before current leaders Girona play on Monday.

Los Blancos will be without a host of leading players due to injury, with the likes of Vinicius Jr, Eduardo Camavinga, Eder Militao and Aurelien Tchouameni all unavailable.

But boss Ancelotti says there is no cause for concern as he has complete faith in his squad.

He said on the Madrid website: “We’ve had injuries that have hampered us, but the squad is solid.

“We’ve always been competitive despite the absences. We go into the game full of confidence and we hope that the injured players recover soon. We’re convinced that we can handle the problems because we have a squad that gives me confidence.

“Those who have played less have an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to show how good the players are that make up this squad.”

Madrid take on 16th-placed Cadiz before facing Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday and then Granada in the league three days later, meaning Ancelotti’s side face three games in seven days.

Ancelotti criticised the hectic schedule.

He added: “The calendar cannot be sustained and those who draw it up have to look at this.

“Now we have this problem and it will increase because there will be a World Cup and a Champions League with more matches.

“The only solution is to reduce the number of games and this can be done by LaLiga, UEFA and FIFA, but they do the opposite.

“It’s all good if you reduce the number of matches and that will reduce the number of injuries and improve the quality of the spectacle.

“I’ve seen 8-0 games and 14-0 games and I don’t know if that makes much sense.”

Bobby Zamora hailed Jude Bellingham's talents as "mind blowing" and believes the 20-year-old can star for England for many years to come.

Bellingham's meteoric rise has seen him come through the ranks at boyhood club Birmingham City before signing for Borussia Dortmund at just 17. His performances in the Bundesliga and Champions League caught the interest of Europe's elite, and Real Madrid swooped in to acquire his signature for an initial €101million (£88.5m) before this season.

Bellingham has enjoyed a staggering start to life with the Spanish giants, scoring 10 goals in 11 LaLiga matches so far, more than legendary midfielder Zinedine Zidane ever managed in a single campaign for the club.

Zamora has lauded Bellingham for his incredible performances at such a young age and predicts the midfielder will prove to be an England mainstay.

"He just keeps improving and keeps getting better, and he's absolutely mind blowing really," Zamora told Stats Perform, speaking on the Pro Am Padel Tour.

"He is still at such a young age and to be performing at that level week in week out for Real Madrid and England as well. It's a real bright future for him and a bright future for England as well."

Bellingham's excellent displays in 2023 were enough for him to receive the Golden Boy award, given to the best player aged 21 and under in Europe's top-flight divisions.

Former West Ham midfielder Mark Noble said Bellingham is exceeding expectations, even with the lofty hopes placed upon him.

"Everyone knew the dude was special at a young age," said Noble.

"But I think he's surprised everyone too, probably even himself. Not many people would go to Real Madrid and start like that.

"So good luck to him. He's a fantastic asset for the country and I hope he does really well."

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior is facing a spell on the sidelines after being injured during Brazil’s World Cup qualifying defeat against Colombia.

The Spanish club said he had been diagnosed with “a tear in his left femoral bicep”.

“Following tests carried out today on our player Vinicius Jr by the Real Madrid medical services, he has been diagnosed with a tear in his left femoral bicep which is affecting the tendon in his hamstring,” Real Madrid said.

“His recovery will be monitored.”

Vinicius, who will miss next week’s appointment with Argentina, went off midway through the first half and becomes the latest Real Madrid player to suffer an injury setback.

Midfielder Eduardo Camavinga (knee) and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga (thigh) are among those currently sidelined, while England international Jude Bellingham is nursing a shoulder problem.

Jude Bellingham has been awarded the 2023 Golden Boy award for the best player in Europe aged under 21.

The prize was established by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport 20 years ago and is voted for by 50 sports journalists across the continent.

In a video message on tuttosport.com, England star Bellingham said: “I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for me for the 2023 Golden Boy. I really appreciate it.

“I’d like to thank everyone that’s been part of my journey so far at Birmingham, Dortmund and now Madrid. It wouldn’t be possible without them. There’s so many, I’d be here for hours naming them all.

“Lastly and most importantly my family, who give me the support and the motivation and the love every day to keep striving.

“Now that I’ve got this beautiful award, I want to keep going and keep pushing the limits of my potential and hopefully many more trophies to come.”

Bellingham has made a huge impact since moving from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid in the summer, scoring 13 goals in 14 matches, including both in a 2-1 victory over Barcelona last month.

The 20-year-old was awarded the Kopa Trophy last month for the best young player in the world at the Ballon d’Or ceremony.

He is the third English player to win the Golden Boy after Wayne Rooney in 2004 and Raheem Sterling in 2014. The award will be presented at a gala in Turin on December 4.

Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo Camavinga is set for a lengthy injury layoff after damaging a knee ligament while on international duty with France.

The 21-year-old damaged his knee during a training session this week as Les Bleus prepared for Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Gibraltar and returned to Madrid to undergo medical checks.

A statement from Real read: “After tests carried out on Eduardo Camavinga by Real Madrid’s medical team, he has been diagnosed with a rupture of the external lateral ligament in his right knee. We are awaiting further developments.”

Camavinga, who can also play at left-back, recently signed a new contract with LaLiga giants Real that runs until June 2029. He has made 116 appearances for the capital club since joining from Rennes in August 2021.

In his relatively short career with Los Blancos he has already amassed a large collection of trophies, including the Champions League, Club World Cup, European Super Cup, LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup.

Emma Hayes felt her Chelsea side had been “robbed” after they were held 2-2 at Real Madrid in their Champions League opener.

In a contest with no VAR in operation, Real equalised through a 79th-minute Olga Carmona penalty awarded by referee Frida Klarlund for a Jessie Fleming challenge on Athenea del Castillo – which Hayes had no doubt took place outside the box.

The Chelsea manager was also unhappy about Niamh Charles’ finish being disallowed in stoppage time, seemingly for offside, stressing that Charles had been onside and Sam Kerr had not interfered with goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez.

Hayes told reporters in Spain: “I could see from the bench that the tackle (for the penalty decision) was outside the box. So I’m absolutely shocked that those managing the game couldn’t see that.

“Of course maybe Jessie shouldn’t lunge in that area, but it happens clearly outside the box. At this level when you are in control of a game and important decisions like that go against you, it makes it difficult.”

Regarding the stoppage-time incident, she added: “We score a really legitimate goal with Niamh Charles three or four yards onside.

“It is embarrassing. I had to check why it was disallowed. Was it Niamh? No. Was it Sam (Kerr) interfering with the goalkeeper? She was about seven yards away, no way near the keeper.

“I cannot understand the decision whatsoever. I think we’ve been robbed of what was a 3-1 game.

“You can’t (ask the referee for clarity at full-time). You’re not allowed to speak to the officials. Can’t speak to them there (on the pitch), can’t speak about it here (to the media).

“For me I am going to focus on the performance, I can only control that. Everybody saw the decisions, you don’t need me to comment on them any further.”

Real took the lead at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium through a deflected 10th-minute shot from Carmona – scorer of Spain’s winner against England in the summer’s World Cup final – before Chelsea hit back through two headers, Charles equalising in the 41st minute and then setting up Kerr in the 74th.

After Carmona levelled from the spot, Lauren James hit the crossbar before the late disallowed effort as the visitors were unable to secure a winning start to what is to be their final Champions League campaign before Hayes leaves at the end of the season for the United States job.

Hayes said: “I think the performance was well controlled by us, especially away from home in Europe. We had so much more of the ball and it was comfortable.

“(There was) just a tactical adjustment that we had to make (at half-time) – the pivots weren’t carrying out a small detail there. Overall it had to be better in the final third, either the last pass or whatever it might have been.

“I think the team did better with that (in the second half). We hit the bar as well, we should have scored from that. We had chances, so we should be disappointed with ourselves.

“I can’t remember the last time we were in a game like that when two humongous decisions like that have gone against us – that is a lot tonight.”

Wednesday’s earlier game in Group D saw Paris FC – who Chelsea play in their next pool game at Stamford Bridge next Thursday – beaten 2-1 at home by Swedish side BK Hacken.

Chelsea had to settle for a point in their Champions League opener as Olga Carmona’s penalty saw Emma Hayes’ side held 2-2 at Real Madrid.

After Carmona put Real ahead in the 10th minute, the Blues turned things around via two headers either side of the break, Niamh Charles equalising and then setting up Sam Kerr.

But moments later Carmona – scorer of Spain’s winner against England in the summer’s World Cup final – converted from the spot after Jessie Fleming was judged to have fouled Athenea del Castillo in the box.

Chelsea substitute Lauren James rattled the crossbar before Charles controversially had an effort ruled out in stoppage time as the visitors were unable to secure a winning start to their final Champions League campaign before Hayes leaves at the end of the season and becomes United States head coach.

The west London outfit – who have not won this competition among the glut of trophies they have claimed under Hayes, going closest as runners-up in 2021 – return to Women’s Super League action against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Saturday before continuing their Group D games by taking on Paris FC at the same ground five days later.

Wednesday’s earlier game in the pool saw Paris FC beaten 2-1 at home by Swedish side BK Hacken.

Real grabbed the lead with the first real effort on goal as Ann-Katrin Berger’s attempted clearance came to Claudia Zornoza and she passed to Carmona, whose strike from 25 yards flew in via a deflection off Chelsea skipper Millie Bright.

While the hosts offered little more in the way of attacking threat for the rest of the first half, Chelsea looked increasingly likely to hit back.

And after Kerr had seen a rising shot well turned behind by Misa Rodriguez just prior to the half-hour mark and Erin Cuthbert fired off-target, the equaliser four minutes before the break when Charles headed in from Ashley Lawrence’s cross.

Further Chelsea pressure in stoppage time included a Cuthbert free-kick going wide off a white shirt and Sjoeke Nusken’s shot being caught by Rodriguez.

The opening stages of the second half saw Rodriguez deal with a Kerr header and do superbly to divert a shot from the same player wide moments later.

Hayes introduced James for Fran Kirby and after Charles blocked a Del Castillo strike, the substitute put a shot into the stand at the other end.

Chelsea got themselves in front with Charles once again involved as her 74th-minute cross was nodded in by Kerr.

But only five minutes later, the score was back level after Fleming made a challenge that started outside the box on Del Castillo, she went down in the area and – with no VAR in operation – referee Frida Klarlund pointed to the spot, with Carmona powerfully dispatching the penalty past Berger.

As Chelsea pushed to regain the lead, Rodriguez produced another good save to deny Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and James sent a wonderful shot crashing against the bar.

The visitors then had the ball in the net again deep in stoppage time through Charles’ finish, but the effort was chalked off – seemingly for offside, although replays showed she had not been – to leave Hayes looking frustrated and Real breathing a sigh of relief.

What the papers say

Saudi Arabia has emerged as a possible destination for Jadon Sancho if his unhappy stay at Manchester United ends in January. The Daily Telegraph reports the England winger, 23, is wanted by teams in the Saudi Pro League, although he has also been linked with Juventus and remaining at United beyond the transfer window.

Tottenham’s Brazilian forward Richarlison has also caught the eye of Saudi clubs, according to the Telegraph. They are lining up a possible January move for the 26-year-old.

Wayne Rooney has been warned he will have a fight to lure Elliot Lee, 28 , away from Wrexham, according to the Daily Mirror. Rooney has identified the attacking midfielder as a prime target after taking over at Birmingham City.

Former player John Obi Mikel has offered to help Chelsea sign Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, 24. The Sun reports Mikel offered to “broker the deal” in a podcast interview with his fellow Nigerian.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Raphinha: Barcelona are hoping for bids from across Europe for the former Leeds winger, 26, in the summer.

Florian Wirtz: Bayer Leverkusen’s Germany midfielder, 20, is on Real Madrid’s list of transfer targets.

Real Madrid returned to winning ways in LaLiga with a 5-1 thumping of Valencia to keep pace with leaders Girona.

Madrid had dropped points at home to Rayo Vallecano last weekend, but Girona’s victory over the same opponent earlier on Saturday briefly opened up a five-point gap at the summit.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side responded in perfect fashion with Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo each scoring doubles in a comfortable victory at Santiago Bernabeu.

While Madrid had booked their place in the Champions League last 16 with a midweek success over Braga, Jude Bellingham had added to the club’s growing list to cast doubt over his England involvement next week.

Madrid captain Dani Carvajal quickly dispelled any lingering gloom with a superb opener in the third minute.

Toni Kroos picked out Carvajal with an inch-perfect crossfield pass, which was controlled by the right-back before he smashed the ball home on the half-volley from 22 yards with his weaker foot.

Ancelotti’s team were in the mood now and Kroos struck the crossbar soon after, before Valencia did settle, but they were hit with a sucker-punch before half-time.

Rodrygo was released down the right and his wicked delivery found Vinicius Jr, who produced an unconventional finish of a chest of the ball into the ground and beyond Giorgi Mamardashvili in the 42nd minute.

 

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If Valencia hoped the break would interrupt Madrid’s momentum, it failed miserably with a third following four minutes after the interval.

After Rodrygo fizzed the ball to Vinicius Jr, the Brazil attacker cut inside and drilled an effort into the bottom corner.

It was 4-0 within 60 seconds when Mamardashvili’s night went from bad to worse when his attempted pass out from the back was intercepted by Rodrygo and he slotted into the corner before copying Cristian Ronaldo’s siu celebration.

Vinicius Jr was denied his hat-trick just past the hour mark when his chipped effort was blocked and he was substituted with 82 minutes on the clock.

The goal frenzy had not finished there though with Rodrygo able to pick up the mantle and grab his second of the evening.

Madrid substitute Fran Garcia found Rodrygo and the youngster twisted and turned inside the penalty area before he fired the ball into the far corner in the 84th minute.

Valencia were able to have the final say on proceedings when Hugo Gonzalez got to the right byline and crossed in for Hugo Duro to hook home on the turn, but it failed to spoil a five-star display by Madrid.

Ancelotti’s title hopefuls are once again two points behind Girona going into the international break with a trip to Cadiz to come in a fortnight.

England midfielder Jude Bellingham was ruled out of Real Madrid’s LaLiga clash against Valencia with a shoulder injury.

The in-form 20-year-old, who has scored 13 goals in 14 Real appearances since his £88.5million summer switch from Borussia Dortmund, suffered a dislocated shoulder during last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Rayo Vallecano.

Bellingham was this week included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.

A Real Madrid statement issued on Saturday said: “After the tests carried out today on our player Jude Bellingham, he has been diagnosed with anterior instability of his left shoulder, a consequence of his recent dislocation.

“Bellingham is out for today’s match against Valencia.”

Bellingham was named among the substitutes for Wednesday night’s 3-0 Champions League win over Portuguese side Braga, but manager Carlo Ancelotti did not use him as his side cruised to victory.

Uruguay midfielder Federico Valverde has signed a two-year contract extension at Real Madrid, the LaLiga club have announced.

The 25-year-old, who joined the Spanish giants in 2016, is now committed to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2029.

Valverde, who has become a mainstay of the side over the past six seasons, has played 220 games for the club and won nine trophies including the Champions League and two LaLiga titles.

A statement from the club read: “Real Madrid and Fede Valverde have agreed to extend the contract of the player, who is linked to the club until June 30, 2029.”

Valverde becomes the fourth Real player to extend their contract with the club this month, after Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior all signed new deals.

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Real Sociedad all booked their places in the knockout stages of the Champions League with two games to spare on a dramatic night of European action.

Bayern made it four wins out of four in Group A but only after a frantic finish in their 2-1 win over Galatasaray.

The visitors had the ball in the net just after the hour but Lucas Torreira was offside, and Bayern took the lead when Harry Kane flicked in Joshua Kimmich’s free-kick with 10 minutes to go, with the goal awarded following a VAR check after initially being ruled offside.

Kane then doubled the lead with his 25th career Champions League goal, turning in Mathys Tel’s cross in the 86th minute, and they needed the cushion as Cedric Bakambu scored for Galatasaray in stoppage time.

Despite defeat Galatasaray remain second in the group after Manchester United suffered a costly 4-3 defeat in Copenhagen, blowing a 2-0 lead after Marcus Rashford was sent off.

Rasmus Hojlund’s early brace against his former club put United in control despite the loss of Jonny Evans to injury, but the night changed when Rashford saw red for a challenge on Elias Jelert following a VAR intervention in the 42nd minute.

Ex-Southampton forward Mohamed Elyounoussi pulled one back before Diogo Goncalves levelled from the penalty spot after a Harry Maguire handball deep into first-half stoppage time.

Bruno Fernandes restored United’s lead with a 69th-minute penalty after Lukas Lerager handled, but the Copenhagen midfielder made amends with an 83rd minute equaliser before Roony Bardghji won it four minutes later, leaving United bottom of the group before their trip to Istanbul.

Real Madrid cruised through with a 3-0 win over Braga. They overcame an early scare when Alvaro Djalo missed a penalty for the visitors after Lucas Vazquez fouled Cristian Borja just four minutes in, but once Brahim Diaz put them in front in the 27th minute there was no looking back.

Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo added to the scoreline with two goals in five minutes early in the second half, and there was no way back for the visitors.

The other Group C game between Napoli and Union Berlin ended 1-1 as David Fofana’s first Union goal – and the club’s first away from home in the Champions League – cancelled out Matteo Politano’s opener.

Inter edged out RB Salzburg 1-0 in Austria to secure their progress, with the game decided by Lautaro Martinez’s 84th-minute penalty after Mads Bidstrup handled in the area.

And that result also saw Real Sociedad go through from Group D after their 3-1 win over Benfica earlier in the evening.

Early goals from Mikel Merino and Mikel Oyarzabal had Sociedad in control after just 11 minutes and it was 3-0 10 minutes later as Ander Barrenetxea fired into the roof of the net.

Brais Mendez hit the post with a penalty just before the half hour and Rafa Silva pulled one back for Benfica early in the second half, but Sociedad comfortably took the points.

Arsenal are in control of Group B after goals from Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka earned a 2-0 win over Sevilla.

The Gunners top the group with nine points, four clear of PSV Eindhoven and Lens, who are level on five after Luuk de Jong’s 12th-minute header was enough for 1-0 win over Lens, who had substitute Morgan Guilavogui sent off late on.

Real Madrid cruised into the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 3-0 win over Braga.

After overcoming an early scare when Alvaro Djalo missed a penalty for the visitors, the 14-time European champions took the lead through Brahim Diaz in the 27th minute and then seized control early in the second half as Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo added to the score line.

A fourth win out of four in Group C, and ninth straight game at home without defeat in the Champions League, saw Real book their place in the last-16 with two games to spare.

With the hosts needing only a point to be sure of progression, Carlo Ancelotti took the opportunity to rest a number of regulars.

Jude Bellingham was on the bench after suffering a blow to the shoulder at the weekend, while David Alaba and Dani Carvajal were also among the substitutes.

It was a dramatic start to the match as Braga were awarded a penalty just four minutes in, with Lucas Vazquez pulling Cristian Borja back by the shirt and earning a yellow card for his troubles.

But Real avoided further punishment with goalkeeper Andriy Lunin equal to a weak spot-kick from Djalo.

The home side wanted a penalty of their own moments later when Rodrygo went down under a challenge from Sikou Niakate but the referee waved play on.

Diaz, who replaced Bellingham in the side, thought he had scored in the 12th minute following a mistake from Niakate, sweeping home Rodrygo’s pass, but the Brazilian was deemed guilty of a foul in the build-up.

Braga were appealing for another penalty in the 20th minute when Vazquez barged into Bruma, but the winger had already lost control of the ball as he tried to punish a wayward header from the defender.

The hosts went straight to the other end where Federico Valverde blazed over but the goal was coming and arrived in the 27th minute when Rodrygo pulled the ball back for Diaz to lift into the roof of the net.

Rodrygo had a chance to double the lead before half-time but shot straight at Matheus from the left.

Diaz was close to a second 10 minutes into the second half after Vinicius cut the ball back, but his first effort was stopped by the goalkeeper and his follow-up shot blocked by Jose Fonte.

Real were turning up the heat, and the second goal came in the 58th minute as Vinicius finished off a neat move, cutting past Fonte and finding the bottom corner.

And they killed the game off three minutes later, hitting Braga on the break as Rodrygo exchanged passes with Vinicius before lifting the ball over the goalkeeper.

Braga dropped back in numbers to ensure there was no fourth on the night and almost got a goal of their own in stoppage time through Abel Ruiz’s header, which was well saved by Lunin.

Eduardo Camavinga has signed a new deal that will keep him at Real Madrid until June 2029, the LaLiga club have announced.

Camavinga, who can play in both midfield or in defence as a left-back, has made made 114 appearances for Los Blancos since his arrival in 2021.

The versatile 20-year-old has already amassed a large collection of trophies in his first two seasons in the Spanish capital, including the Champions League,  Club World Cup, European Super Cup, LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup.

Camavinga has also made 13 appearances for France, scoring once in a 2020 international friendly with Ukraine.

Real Madrid, coming off Sunday’s goalless draw with Rayo Vallecano, host Braga in a Champions League group stage contest on Wednesday night.

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