Diego Simeone described Koke as an "exemplary captain" after the midfielder made a record-breaking 554th Atletico Madrid appearance in Saturday's 2-0 win at Sevilla.

Koke – who came through Atleti's youth ranks – surpassed fellow Colchoneros great Adelardo Rodriguez in the club's all-time appearance chart in a routine victory at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
 
The 30-year-old marked the occasion with an assist, teeing up Marcos Llorente to score a fine opener before Alvaro Morata lobbed Yassine Bounou to score his fourth league goal of the campaign after the break.

Koke has been a key player throughout Simeone's long reign in Madrid, and the Argentine struggled find the words to describe his captain's influence after the win.

"It is difficult, in a short time, to express all the feelings I have for him, first as a person and then as a footballer," Simeone told DAZN.

"He is a guy who gave himself, who never hesitated to commit first to Atletico, with his team-mates, with the coaching staff, and that is very difficult to see. 

"He has been an exemplary captain for many years. It is not easy to maintain that place in a team like Atletico, with so much responsibility. 

"He is very intelligent. I have always appreciated that he knows what has to be said, to whom, where and when. Then as a footballer he has given us a lot of things. 

"He has given us hierarchy, work, strength, being able to generate a commitment as a team through the midfielders. Now I see him in an important role, hopefully I can develop it in the best way."

Meanwhile, Simeone deployed Llorente in an advanced role alongside Morata, and was delighted to see the 27-year-old end a 51-game goal drought by drilling into the bottom-left corner in the first half. 

"I am very happy for Llorente because it is a position that interests me, I like it, where I know he can do very well," Simeone said.

"He has enormous power and also works for the team. He gives us a lot of speed up front."

Llorente said Atleti could have won even more convincingly, but was pleased with their display, adding: "We are happy not only for the three points and the team's victory, but also for the game. 

"At the back we have been strong, we have had enough chances to have a bigger result. But 2-0 here in Seville is a good thing.

Marcos Llorente and Alvaro Morata scored as Atletico Madrid earned a 2-0 win at Sevilla on Saturday, ratcheting up pressure on home boss Julen Lopetegui. 

Koke claimed an assist for the opening goal, on the day he made a record-breaking 554th Atletico appearance, with Llorente taking the plaudits after placing a neat finish into the bottom-left corner.

Sevilla have won just one league game so far this season, and their lack of confidence was clear as Diego Simeone's men extended their lead through Morata's finish from a one-on-one chance after 57 minutes.

The result lifts Atleti into fifth in LaLiga's early-season standings, while Lopetegui appears to be on borrowed time at Sevilla after overseeing another meek reverse.

Atleti made a bright start as Llorente headed wide following a good run from Saul Niguez, before Morata blasted over the crossbar when presented with a decent opening 19 minutes in.

But Llorente was not to be denied after 29 minutes, collecting a fine pass from Koke before shifting the ball to his right foot and drilling beyond Yassine Bounou.

Llorente then sent a fierce effort into the side netting as Sevilla were pinned back, and Kasper Dolberg's tame header was the sum of the hosts' efforts before they were booed off at the break.

The half-time introductions of Ivan Rakitic and Jesus Navas saw Sevilla enjoy more possession, but they went 2-0 down when Matheus Cunha took advantage of Jose Angel Carmona's error before teeing up Morata for a delicate chipped finish.

Cunha then forced Bounou into action with a low effort as the home crowd again made their displeasure heard, before Angel Correa and Antoine Griezmann both missed from point-blank range as Atleti failed to extend their lead.

What does it mean? Atleti come good against under-fire Sevilla

Atletico came into this contest having lost two of their first six league games this season – their joint-highest tally at that stage of a full campaign under Simeone (W4 D0 L2 in 2015-16).

Los Colchoneros, however, produced an accomplished display to see off their beleaguered hosts, who sit 16th in LaLiga's early standings after a dire start, having finished fourth last term.

Llorente ends long wait

Llorente's well-taken goal saw him bring an end to the longest goal drought of his Atletico career. The midfielder had gone 51 games without a goal ahead of this contest, last finding the net in any competition in May 2021.

He made light of that wait, however, with a sumptuous finish which left Bounou with no chance and set the visitors up for a routine win.

Koke marks landmark outing with assist

Koke overtook fellow Atletico great Adelardo Rodriguez to become the club's record appearance-maker, and he marked the occasion in style by teeing up Llorente's goal.

The 30-year-old, who came through the youth ranks and has won eight major trophies in his distinguished spell with the club, has now recorded two assists this season, and four in his 23 appearances against Sevilla in LaLiga.

What's next?

Both teams are in Champions League action in midweek. Sevilla host Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, while Atleti go to Club Brugge on Tuesday.

Long-serving Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke set a new record for the most appearances of any player for the Spanish side in Saturday's meeting with Sevilla.

The 30-year-old featured in Atletico colours for the 554th time in all competitions, seeing him overtake fellow Atleti icon Adelardo Rodriguez.

Next on the list of Atleti's all-time appearance makers are Pedro Tomas (483), Enrique Collar (468) and Carlos Aguilera (456).

Koke emerged through Los Rojiblancos' youth ranks and made his first outing for the senior side in a 5-2 loss at Barcelona in September 2009.

He has made 392 appearances in LaLiga, 41 in the Copa del Rey, 84 in the Champions League, 29 in the Europa League, six in the Supercopa de Espana and two in the European Supercup.

Across his 13 years with Atletico, the 67-cap Spain international has won eight major trophies, including LaLiga in 2014 and 2021, while also reaching two Champions League finals.

The 2013-14 season saw Koke make his most appearances for Diego Simeone's side in a single campaign, with 58 in all, with that also his most prolific scoring season as he registered seven goals.

Rafael Leao has plenty of admirers, having scored three goals in six Serie A appearances for Milan this term.

The 23-year-old provided an assist for Portugal's first goal in Saturday's 4-0 win in the Czech Republic.

The forward was voted the Serie A Most Valuable Player last season as the Rossoneri won the Scudetto.


TOP STORY – MILAN EAGER TO EXTEND RAFAEL LEAO DEAL

Milan have put forward an offer to tie down Manchester City and Chelsea target Rafael Leao on a new contract, reports Calciomercato.

The report claims that the Rossoneri are willing to increase his salary beyond the €2million he currently receives, up to €6.5m, as they look to fend off rival interest.

Milan understand that it may be difficult to convince the Portuguese to stay at the San Siro, although he is contracted until 2024.


ROUND-UP 

Barcelona will cut their losses with Antoine Griezmann on a deal to sell him back to Atletico Madrid, according to Mundo Deportivo. The initial agreement included a purchase clause of €35-40m but Atletico have avoided triggering that, creating a stand-off. The Blaugrana are now prepared to lower their asking price with Atletico set to offer €25m in January.

– The Mirror claims Atletico are considering a move to sign Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as Jan Oblak's successor, with the Slovenian out of contract at the end of this season.

– The race for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham's signature continues, with The Sun claiming Manchester City are confident they will beat Liverpool and Manchester United to him. It is understood Dortmund are willing to sell the 19-year-old for £83m.

– Manchester United are weighing up whether to move to extend goalkeeper David de Gea's contract another year, reports the Sunday Telegraph. The Spaniard is out of contract at the end of this season.

Atletico Madrid have condemned the racist abuse directed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior by supporters, promising the "immediate expulsion" of any members who were involved.

Sunday's LaLiga derby between the two capital clubs was marred by pre-match scenes of Atletico fans singing racist chants about the Brazilian forward.

The chants came less than a week after football agent Pedro Bravo urged the Real Madrid winger to "stop playing the monkey" in relation to the forward's customary dancing celebration. Bravo later apologised, insisting he did not mean to cause offence with the comments made on TV show El Chiringuito.

Vinicius vowed to continue celebrating in such a way and was met with a wave of support, including from compatriots Neymar, Pele and Gabriel Jesus, but he was still targeted by some Atletico fans ahead of Sunday's match.

Atletico have belatedly spoken out against the abuse suffered by the forward and offered their cooperation to the police.

"Our club has always been known for being an open and inclusive space for fans of different nationalities, cultures, races, and social classes, and a few cannot tarnish the image of thousands and thousands of Atleti fans who support their team with passion and respect for their opponents," the statement read.

"These chants provoke enormous repulsion and indignation. We will not allow any individual to hide behind our colours to utter insults of a racist or xenophobic nature. At Atletico Madrid, we have zero tolerance for racism, our commitment to the fight against this social scourge is total, and we will not stop until we eliminate it.

"To this end, we have contacted the authorities to offer them our full cooperation in the investigation of the events that took place outside the stadium. We ask them to identify the people who participated [and] to proceed with the immediate expulsion of those who are members of the club.

"We would also like to invite all professionals involved in the world of football to reflect deeply. Making clear once again our strongest condemnation of these events, which have no justification whatsoever, we believe that what has happened in the days leading up to the derby is unacceptable.

"Fans are asked for sanity and rationality, and during the week, professionals from different fields generated an artificial campaign, lighting the fuse of controversy without measuring the repercussions of their actions and manifestations.

"The pain felt by the red and white family for this event is enormous. We cannot allow anyone to link our fans with this behaviour and question our values because of a minority that does not represent us.

"Our decision is firm and emphatic. We will not stop until we expel those involved from the red and white family because they cannot be part of it."

Harry Kane remains at the centre of significant transfer speculation after the Tottenham striker failed to secure a move to Manchester City last year.

The England star appears more settled under Antonio Conte but has been linked with Bayern Munich recently.

Kane has started this Premier League campaign strongly, netting six goals in seven appearances.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLOTTING KANE-LUKAKU SWAP

New Chelsea boss Graham Potter wants to bring Harry Kane across town from Tottenham, claims Calciomercato.

The Blues boss is ready to offer Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Inter, as part of an exchange for Kane. The England forward's contract at Tottenham expires in 2024.

Chelsea are at the start of a new era after Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel, while they are set to appoint Salzburg's Christoph Freund as their new sporting director.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports Atletico Madrid are desperate to add a versatile attacker to their squad next year, with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino on top of their wish list.

– Calciomercato claims Liverpool are considering a move for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk. Newcastle United, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax are also tracking the Ukrainian, according to CBS' Ben Jacobs. TalkSPORT reports that the Reds are also keeping an eye on Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes .

– Manchester City are interested in a big-money move for Milan winger Rafael Leao next year, according to the Manchester Evening News.

– Football Insider reports West Ham have informed Manuel Lanzini he is free to leave the club in January.

– Former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro is close to a return to management with talks to take over at Serie B club Benevento progressing well, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Arsenal were heavily linked with Manuel Locatelli more than 12 months ago and look set to revive their interest.

Locatelli won plenty of admirers with his performances for Italy at Euro 2020.

Among them was Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, but at the time Locatelli preferred to join Juventus.

TOP STORY – GUNNERS TO REVIVE LOCATELLI INTEREST

Premier League leaders Arsenal will renew their pursuit of Italy international Manuel Locatelli in the near future, claims Calciomercato.

The Gunners have previously been linked with the 24-year-old Juventus midfielder, who is on loan from Sassuolo.

Locatelli was signed by the Bianconeri in August 2021 on a two-year loan, with Juventus holding the obligation to purchase him for €25 million payable over three years plus €12.5m in potential add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid will not stand in the way of Mariano Diaz should he decide to exit the club across town to join Atletico Madrid, according to El Nacional. It has previously been reported Atletico are targeting the 29-year-old striker.

Madrid will not pursue a deal for Paris Saint-Germain attacker Kylian Mbappe if he has no interest in signing, according to Marca. Mbappe was close to joining the Spanish giants in the off-season as a free agent after a long chase, before signing a lucrative extension with PSG.

– The Sun claims that Leicester City may be forced to stick with manager Brendan Rodgers as it will be too expensive for the club to sack him amid their awful start to the new Premier League season. According to the report, the Foxes would need to pay Rodgers more than £10 million to sack him, with three years left on his deal.

Chelsea's overhaul continues with the club on the cusp of appointing Christoph Freund as their new sporting director, claims The Guardian. Freund is with Austrian champions Salzburg. The Blues recently replaced Thomas Tuchel with Graham Potter as head coach.

Carlo Ancelotti thanked Atletico Madrid counterpart Diego Simeone for praising Real Madrid's defensive work after Los Blancos won Sunday's derby.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first half sent Madrid on their way to a sixth win from as many league games this season.

Although Mario Hermoso pulled one back, before being sent off late on for two bookings, Madrid were good value for the win at the Civitas Metropolitano.

Simeone commended the work of Ancelotti in his post-match press conference, applauding Madrid's defensive organisation in a "low block" and their effectiveness on the break, likening them to his 2013-14 title-winning Atletico side.

His comment claiming that critics accused that Atletico side of being "defensive" may have been interpreted by some as a backhanded compliment for Madrid, though Ancelotti decided not to take the cynical view.

"I think that in the first half we managed very well defensively at the start, then we were comfortable with the goals and in the second half we got rid of the idea of ​​​​doing damage," Ancelotti said.

"It affected us because then we suffered at the end. Atletico pushed and created problems for us.

"Yes, we have defended with a low block and we are used to it. We removed the danger of [Atletico] breaking with [Antoine] Griezmann or Joao Felix. The low block allowed us to control them well.

"If Simeone says that we have defended well in a low block, I tell him thank you, it is a compliment.

"The ideal football is to score many goals and not concede, perfection does not exist."

Madrid's two goalscorers have emerged as key players this season, taking on greater responsibility after previously being deployed more like rotation options.

Rodrygo was starting in the injured Karim Benzema's place in attack and led the line effectively, earning LaLiga's MVP award for the match, and Ancelotti was eager to commend him and Valverde.

"Both of them are very special players because they are what the modern footballer has to be now, who must play in different positions, must have physique, technique," Ancelotti added.

"Both of them have progressed a lot, and we are delighted because they are doing very well."

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone applauded the work of his opposite number Carlo Ancelotti after losing to the Italian's Real Madrid in Sunday's derby.

Los Blancos claimed a 2-1 win at the Civitas Metropolitano to ensure they go into the international break at the top of the table.

Madrid have won all of their first six LaLiga games in the 2022-23 season and rarely looked especially worried against Atletico, despite the hosts dictating the tempo for much of the second half.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first period sent Madrid on their way and, although Mario Hermoso – who was also sent off late on for two bookings – pulled one back, the away side were good value for the win.

Simeone subsequently struggled to hide his admiration for Ancelotti's team, suggesting they were comparable to the Atletico side that won the 2013-14 LaLiga title.

"Madrid defends very well, runs little, closes spaces for you, attacks on the counter-attack," Simeone told Movistar+. "They have a terrific forcefulness.

"The forcefulness is wonderful and seeing a team that attacks from deep and counter-attacks reminds me of our team with [Diego] Costa, and they [critics] told us that we played defensively. But when there is force, football is wonderful.

"[Atletico] made a great effort, we were close to drawing, but it's true that a team that defends organised like them and counter-attacks like that, I like it because you can play deep and play well. I congratulate them, it is a great job by the Madrid coach.

"But I am happy with the work of my team because they stuck it out until the end, the players made a great effort. Mario's expulsion was a pity because there were a few minutes left."

The result left Atletico seventh in the table heading into the international window – they go to Sevilla on October 1 in their next game after the break.

Rodrygo considers Karim Benzema "impossible to replace", but the Brazilian is nevertheless giving his all to fill in for the injured Real Madrid striker.

Madrid's opener came from Rodrygo in their 2-1 derby triumph at Atletico Madrid on Sunday, as Carlo Ancelotti's side kept up their 100 per cent record in LaLiga to top the table heading into the international break.

The Brazil international combined excellently with Aurelien Tchouameni to slot home in the 18th minute, before Federico Valverde made it 2-0 prior to the break.

Atleti fought back through Mario Hermoso's late goal, but it was not enough to inspire a full comeback – with the hosts' scorer subsequently sent off after picking up two bookings in as many minutes.

While captain Benzema is set to return after the international break, Ancelotti has been able to rely on Rodrygo to lead Madrid's line in the France frontman's absence, with the 21-year-old contributing to five goals in his last four LaLiga appearances.

Asked in a post-match interview with Movistar+ how difficult it was to replace Benzema, Rodrygo said: "I've always had confidence, but last season I scored more goals at the end [of the campaign] and now I have scored them at the beginning as well.

"I'm coming off a very good season and I want to continue like this, because I [can get] even better.

"It's impossible to replace Benzema, but I try and I think I'm doing well. I have to say that I do things differently to him, we have changed the style of play."

Defender Dani Carvajal, meanwhile, said Rodrygo had given Madrid "wings in attack", even if Benzema was "fundamental" to Los Blancos.

Madrid have won all nine of their matches this season in all competitions, and they are the only side in Europe's top five leagues with a perfect record.

It marks the third time Madrid have won their first nine games in a single campaign after 1961-62 and 1968-69, when they won their opening 11 games in both campaigns.

"We are very happy. We started the season at 100 per cent, winning everything," Rodrygo said. "We are going into the break wanting to rest, play with our national teams and come back better."

Rodrygo celebrated his opener with compatriot Vinicius Junior, who in the wake of being crudely told to "stop playing the monkey" by a football agent in midweek, was the target of racist chanting from some Atleti supporters outside the Civitas Metropolitano prior to kick-off.

"It's a pleasure to play with him, something very special, without a doubt," said Rodrygo of his team-mate, who played a key role in Valverde's goal, hitting the post after a brilliant run, which enabled the midfielder to tuck home on the rebound.

The match was not without its contentious moments, with Hermoso's second yellow particularly harsh. Having previously been booked for dissent, the centre-back was adjudged to have lashed out at Dani Ceballos, though replays showed it was a questionable decision.

"Very bad taste, we have lost a very important match. We have not been so bad, we have not deserved the defeat, but it is football," Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak told Movistar+.

On Hermoso's red card, Oblak said: "I've seen the video. The referee was very close and I don't know what he saw, but it's his decision and on video it's easier than [live], it's true.

"It didn't have to be yellow, there were still three minutes left and we could have taken advantage."

It's not often Real Madrid get painted as the good guys, but Sunday's derby clash with Atletico was one of those few occasions.

As Carlo Ancelotti's Los Blancos left the Civitas Metropolitano with a 2-1 win, there was little doubt that they were the better side on the day.

But, strangely for a fixture of such magnitude, the actual football was sadly almost a sideshow as Spanish football's racism problem reared its head once again.

Through no fault of his own, Vinicius Junior had been the chief focus in the build-up after Pedro Bravo, an agent who appears on Spanish football show El Chiringuito, made a racially insensitive comment while on TV.

Referencing Vinicius' harmless tendency to celebrate goals with a little dance, Bravo suggested the Brazilian should "respect your mates and stop playing the monkey", comments that unsurprisingly drew criticism from all over the football world.

It was heart-warming to see how many people rallied around Vinicius in the wake of Bravo's ridiculous outburst. Many of his international team-mates and Brazil great Pele issued messages of support urging him to dance on.

Vinicius himself made a statement vowing to keep dancing, and Arsenal star Gabriel Jesus dedicated a similar celebration to his colleague earlier on Sunday.

That should have been the end of all the pointless debating about whether the celebration is disrespectful or not (it clearly isn't), but unfortunately it wasn't.

As Atletico 'ultras' queued on their way into the stadium before kick-off, offensive chants targeting Vinicius were being sung by hundreds of fans. Not a few, hundreds, and video footage brought the scenes to attention on social media.

What makes those chants even more disappointing is that few would've been hugely surprised. Atletico ultras have a history of disgracing their club. In 2018, 30 of them were apprehended in Bruges for making Nazi gestures, according to Marca; and as recently as April, they were hit with a partial stadium closure in the Champions League due to similar behaviour from fans against Manchester City.

Ultra group Frente Atletico were banned from the club's old stadium the Vicente Calderon in 2014 after clashes with Deportivo La Coruna fans led to the death of 'Jimmy', a member of the latter's Riazor Blues, who was attacked and thrown into the Manzanares river.

Despite that ban, the group's attitudes were never completely banished, and Sunday's pre-match scenes were a grim reminder of Atletico's failure as a club to stamp out far-right ideologies within its fanbase.

Thankfully, though, Vinicius is a brave young man who wasn't about to suppress his personality and mentality to appease some Neanderthals.

As the pre-game chants foreshadowed, Vinicius' first touch was vociferously jeered by Atletico fans. But the Brazilian amusingly responded with the most extravagant six-yard pass he could think of, dragging the ball back with his right foot before flicking it back down the flank to Ferland Mendy with his left all in one motion. Essentially, it was as close to dancing as he could've got in that moment.

It wasn't long before he was dancing for real, though. Vinicius wasn't even involved in the goal, as Rodrygo produced an emphatic finish from Aurelien Tchouameni's gorgeous pass – the scorer then darted towards the corner flag and began to strut his stuff.

Vinicius was quickly on the scene, gyrating with extra exuberance as Atletico fans threw objects on to the pitch around the celebrating Madrid players, most of whom embraced the former Flamengo talent with greater vigour than they did Rodrygo.

There was no mistaking Vinicius' influence just after the half-hour mark, however. The winger left Marcos Llorente in his dust and darted into the left side of the penalty area before prodding an effort goalwards. It fell kindly to Federico Valverde, who smashed in from close range.

Atletico players dished out rough treatment to Vinicius, perhaps as you might have expected as their biggest attacking threat in the absence of Karim Benzema, though he continued to play his natural game, toying with Llorente on several occasions and even attempting an audacious rainbow flick over Axel Witsel, which certainly angered the home support.

In the end he never quite got the moment of personal jubilation many might've hoped he'd have, with Atletico spending much of the second half on top as they tried to produce a comeback.

But Mario Hermoso's shouldered late goal proved only a consolation as Atletico failed to rise to the occasion, with Madrid holding firm enough to continue the excellent start to their title defence.

The action, and even the result, won't be the post-match focus, however. The vile scenes from earlier in the day will be what this match is remembered for – Atletico's response to that is far more important than how they ultimately react to this defeat.

Real Madrid returned to the summit of LaLiga by beating neighbours Atletico Madrid 2-1 in a full-throttle derby.

Racist chanting in reference to Vinicius Junior from a large group of Atleti fans outside the Civitas Metropolitano soured Sunday's meeting before kick-off, but Carlo Ancelotti's team delivered the perfect rebuttal on the pitch.

Rodrygo continued his excellent form with a superb finish from Aurelien Tchouameni's exquisite pass before Federico Valverde doubled Madrid's tally.

An improved second-half display from Atleti led to an 83rd-minute goal from substitute Mario Hermoso, who was then sent off as Madrid held firm to make it nine wins from nine in all competitions this season.

Atleti defender Felipe had the first chance in the sixth minute, heading over from Rodrigo de Paul's free-kick.

Yannick Carrasco scored the winner in the last meeting between the great rivals and had a shot deflected wide at the culmination of an excellent run – Joao Felix seeing a shot blocked from the resultant corner.

Yet with their first shot, Madrid struck in the 18th minute, Rodrygo poking home from a delightful one-two with Tchouameni, whose sublime, lofted pass evaded Felipe.

Antoine Griezmann drew a fine save out of Thibaut Courtois as Atleti searched for an equaliser, but Madrid were in complete control when Valverde expertly steered home from a tight angle after Vinicius hit the post.

Despite Courtois saving from Carrasco before the interval, Madrid kept Atleti at arm's length after the restart, and Simeone turned to Matheus Cunha and Alvaro Morata around the hour.

Yet it was a defender who came on to set up a grandstand finale – Courtois flapping at a corner and Hermoso turning the ball home off his shoulder.

Atleti's comeback hopes were dashed, though, when Hermoso harshly received a second booking for shoving Dani Ceballos at a corner, two minutes after receiving a caution for dissent.

What does it mean? Two-horse race looking likely

Diego Simeone was overseeing his 408th LaLiga match, making him the Atleti head coach with the most games managed in the competition, overtaking Luis Aragones. Yet once they had gone behind, Atleti never looked likely to mark Simeone's milestone with a victory, meaning his LaLiga record as their boss now stands at 247 wins, 95 draws and 65 defeats.

In the grand scheme of things, however, Sunday's match merely proved the gulf in quality that has developed between the city rivals since Atleti won LaLiga in 2020.

Bar one lapse in concentration for Hermoso's goal, Los Blancos, the only team in Europe's top five leagues with a 100 per cent record this season, were a class above as they claimed a 91st LaLiga triumph over Atleti and with eight points the gap between them and Madrid, it already looks as though it will be between the reigning champions and Barcelona (second, two points behind Ancelotti's team) for the title.

Rodrygo and Valverde on a roll

Filling in for the injured Karim Benzema, Rodrygo was immense, and he has now contributed to five goals in his last four games in LaLiga (scoring three times and providing two assists).

Valverde, meanwhile, continues to see his star rise. The 24-year-old midfielder has been involved in seven goals in his last 10 Madrid appearances in all competitions, as many as in his previous 95 Los Blancos appearances combined. His finish might not have matched the stunning strike he planted in from long distance against Mallorca or his superb, curling goal against RB Leipzig in midweek, but it required great composure, not to mention the energy and pace to get there in the first place.

Vinicius keeps on dancing

Football has united behind Vinicius after a Spanish agent seemingly used a racial slur against the Madrid star on an appearance on El Chiringuito. Unfortunately, despite Atleti's president Enrique Cerezo having issued his support of Vinicius in the build-up to the match, a large portion of home fans were recorded singing a racist chant directed at the 22-year-old prior to kick-off.

Seemingly in response, Atleti tweeted "Countdown to the derby. Support Atleti with passion and respect to the rival!". However, in a tense atmosphere, Vinicius showed his defiance to the abuse while celebrating Rodrygo's opener, joining his compatriot in dancing down on the touchline.

Vinicius did not just offer up defiance with his celebration, though. His part in Madrid's second was brilliant; a trademark, cutting run in from the left and, while his finish lacked precision, Valverde was on hand to score his third goal in as many matches.

What's next?

Madrid host Osasuna in their first game back after the international break on October 2, while Atleti face Sevilla a day earlier.

Antoine Griezmann was the headline inclusion in Atletico Madrid's starting XI for the derby with Real Madrid on Sunday.

Griezmann has scored three goals for Atleti this term, but all of his seven appearances had come from the substitutes bench.

Diego Simeone suggested this has in part been a financial decision, with Atleti set to owe Barcelona a fee for the on-loan forward should he play over half of the available minutes.

Yet he got the nod ahead of Alvaro Morata for the match at the Civitas Metropolitano, starting alongside Joao Felix.

Griezmann's introduction was one of five changes made by Simeone, whose team lost 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, made two alterations to the Madrid team that started in Wednesday's win over RB Leipzig.

Ferland Mendy and Toni Kroos came in for Nacho Fernandez and Eduardo Camavinga respectively.

With Karim Benzema out injured, Rodrygo – who has scored in his last two LaLiga appearances – was selected to lead Madrid's line along with Federico Valverde and Vinicius Junior.

Ancelotti has lost four of his six meetings as a manager with Simeone in LaLiga (W1 D1), while Atleti have the chance to win consecutive games against Madrid in Spain's top flight for the first time since February 2015

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has pledged his support to Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior ahead of the blockbuster derby at Wanda Metropolitano.

The Brazil international was subjected to comments with apparent racist connotations by Spanish football agent Pedro Bravo.

Commenting on Vinicius' dancing goal celebrations, Bravo told El Chiringuito: "You have to respect your opponents. When you score a goal, if you want to dance Samba, you should go to [the] Sambadrome in Brazil. You have to respect your mates and stop playing the monkey."

The remark subsequently drew widespread criticism, with compatriots Pele and Neymar leaping to Vinicius' defence, while Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes suggested Bravo should be arrested.

Speaking ahead of the Madrid derby, Los Rojiblancos president Cerezo has also offered his support to the 22-year-old, while urging a collective show of "respect". 

"I'm going to ask Vinicius to teach me how to dance samba for when I have to go to Brazil in the next festivals in Rio!" he joked to Marca.

"What we have to do is make sure that if Vinicius does score any goal today and if he wants to celebrate it, he celebrates it in a correct way and with respect for all the public in front of him.

"The players manifest themselves as they want, the only thing there has to be is respect for the people who are on a field that is not theirs."

Los Blancos will bid to maintain their perfect start to the 2022-23 season, having won all eight of their matches across all competitions so far.

Meanwhile, Atletico are aiming to bounce back after their 2-0 defeat by Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Karim Benzema will have to sit out Sunday's derby, Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has announced.

The France international came off with a knee injury in Madrid's Champions League win at Celtic earlier this month and has not featured since.

Ancelotti previously said Benzema could be fit for the derby with Atletico Madrid this weekend, but also noted caution at the time by saying if he did not recover, he would also not be available for the upcoming international break.

With Benzema absent from Didier Deschamps' squad announcement for Les Bleus this week, it seemed unlikely he would feature at the Wanda Metropolitano, which Ancelotti confirmed at his press conference on Saturday, saying: "I'm not saying [who will play up front], Benzema won't be there.

"He has started working individually and will be ready after the [international] break."

Ancelotti also spoke about the recent controversial comments from Pedro Bravo, a senior agent in Spain, on Vinicius Junior.

Bravo appeared on television show El Chiringuito earlier this week, saying Vinicius had to stop dancing when he celebrated a goal, accusing the Brazilian of "playing the monkey".

Bravo has apologised and said he used the wrong expression, insisting he was sorry for causing offence.

"It's something that we don't touch on in the locker room, these are issues that are not normally discussed in the locker room, we usually talk about football," the Madrid boss said.

"Racism is one thing and what happens in football is another thing. We have not touched on this issue of racism because the player has responded very well."

When asked if he had spoken to the player about it, Ancelotti said: "No, because I'm not his father, nor am I his brother. I'm his coach.

"Nothing is wrong with him. He is playing with joy. Vini is joy, happiness."

Madrid have won all eight of their games in all competitions this season and will come up against an Atletico side who suffered a Champions League defeat at Bayer Leverkusen in midweek.

Ancelotti is not underestimating Madrid's local rivals, though.

"It will be a competitive match. They don't expect anything new and it will be a very competitive duel, a good football match, because there are very good players on both teams," Ancelotti said. "The match is open, but there is nothing definitive."

Page 1 of 37
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.