real madrid

Bale returns as Madrid lose

Bale had not featured in any of Madrid's past three friendlies, missing the defeat to his former club Tottenham and the wins over Fenerbahce and Salzburg.

Officially, his absence for the Spurs game was due to an illness, though he was spotted playing golf the same day as the match and reportedly missed out due to his state of mind after a transfer to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning fell through.

He was left out again for the Salzburg game, though no explanation was given by coach Zinedine Zidane.

Real Madrid sack Lopetegui

Madrid started the season well under Lopetegui, but things began to unravel with their 3-0 defeat away to Sevilla on September 26, and that result was followed by a draw with Atletico Madrid and further losses to CSKA Moscow, Deportivo Alaves and Levante.

The 52-year-old earned a stay of execution with a Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen last Tuesday, but a 5-1 loss to LaLiga's defending champions has led to Madrid relieving him of his duties.

Bale sinks Liverpool as Madrid make it three in a row

Substitute Bale, who also scored in Real's 2014 final win over Atletico Madrid, had only been on the pitch for three minutes when he rose to meet Marcelo's cross in the air from outside the box, sending it flying into the net to restore Real's lead in the 64th minute at the NSC Olympic Stadium.

French forward Karim Benzema had put Madrid ahead in the 51st minute by sticking out a leg as Liverpool's German keeper Karius attempted to throw the ball to a team mate, sending it trickling over the line, but Sadio Mane levelled from close range in the 55th for Juergen Klopp's side.

Barcelona 2 Real Madrid 2

Barca played 45 minutes with 10 men but managed to extend their record undefeated streak in the top flight to 42 matches, a record that stretches back to April 2017.

In Andres Iniesta's last Clasico, Luis Suarez gave the Catalan giants an early lead by turning in a terrific right-wing cross from Roberto, but the advantage did not last long as Madrid hit back in the 14th minute.

Cristiano Ronaldo - substituted at half-time due to injury - equalled Alfredo Di Stefano's record of 18 Clasico goals for Madrid by tapping in a clever Karim Benzema header back across goal.

Liverpool to meet Real Madrid in Champions League final despite loss to Roma

Jurgen Klopp's side headed to the Italian capital with a commanding 5-2 advantage from last week's first leg, where their Serie A opponents snatched faint hopes of a comeback by netting a pair of late away goals.

Still, Roma had no margin for error – certainly not to the magnitude of the woeful blind pass midfielder Radja Nainggolan played in the ninth minute that resulted in Sadio Mane opening the scoring.

An incredibly unfortunate James Milner own goal did not knock Liverpool off their stride, with Georginio Wijnaldum restoring their ample cushion in the 25th minute.

Real Madrid 6 Girona 3

The Portuguese netted for the eighth game in a row in all competitions, while it was the fourth league outing in succession in which he has found the net at least twice.

A quiet start to 2017-18 saw Ronaldo score just four LaLiga goals before the turn of the year but since late January he has been virtually unstoppable, this stunning display at the Santiago Bernabeu taking his tally to 21 in his past 11 outings across domestic and continental competitions.

Ronaldo bloodied by Madrid brace

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was a picture of frustration, passing up simple chances as Gareth Bale turned the match emphatically in Madrid's favour on the back of Adrian Lopez's 23rd-minute opener for Depor.

Ronaldo made it 5-1 by converting Casemiro's cross from close range and a brave header from Lucas Vazquez's centre gave him a sixth LaLiga goal of the campaign.

It came at a price, as Fabian Schar's boot left the 32-year-old with a nasty cut above his left eye.

Celta Vigo 2 Real Madrid 2

Defeat at Girona and goalless stalemates at Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao plunged Madrid into worrying run of away form, although a 3-0 home reverse to fierce rivals Barcelona in their last league outing is likely to have given them the bigger headache over the Christmas period.

But Zinedine Zidane's men were unable to break that streak on Sunday, despite the best efforts of Gareth Bale, who scored both of the visitors' goals in his first league start since September following calf and hamstring problems.

Barca too strong for Real in 'Clasico'

Suarez capitalised on wide open space in Madrid's midfield to knock in a simple pass from Sergi Roberto following a breakaway move in the 54th minute. That opened the scoring after a tense but tight first half in the early afternoon sun at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

Messi hammered in the second goal from the penalty spot 20 minutes later after Dani Carvajal was sent off for blocking a goal-bound header from Paulinho with his arm after Real were again easily picked apart on the counter attack.

Ronaldo celebrates award with brace

Ronaldo was presented his trophy for the best player in football in front of the Santiago Bernabeu crowd before kickoff. He received the honour on Friday in a ceremony in Paris, his fifth trophy, equalling Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.

After soaking up the ovation from his fans, the Portugal star went on to have his best performance in the league this season. His brace earned him another loud round of applause when he was substituted late.

Madrid moved into third place, five points behind leader Barcelona, which visits Villarreal on Monday.