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La Liga: Kroos Stunner Helps Real Madrid Beat Celta Vigo

Gareth Bale helped set up Real’s opener, before Toni Kroos doubled the visitors’ lead with a spectacular strike

A sensational goal from Toni Kroos, as well as a Gareth Bale assist, helped 10-man Real Madrid overcome Celta Vigo in their La Liga opener.

Kroos lashed home via the underside of the crossbar after Karim Benzema had given the visitors an early lead from Bale’s cross.

Luka Modric was dismissed early in the second half, but Lucas Vazquez extended Real’s lead with 10 minutes remaining.

Iker Losada netted a consolation for the hosts in second-half stoppage time.

Bale was a surprise starter at the Estadio Municipal de Balaidos after being linked with a move away from the club this summer.

The Welshman was heavily involved in the game’s opening goal, escaping the attentions of his marker before teeing up Benzema with a pin-point cross.

Celta responded well and thought they had equalised on the stroke of half-time, but Brais Mendez’s effort was disallowed for offside by the video assistant referee.

Kroos’ stunning 25-yard effort doubled Real’s lead, but the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Modric was dismissed – following another VAR check – for a late challenge on former Arsenal loanee Denis Suarez.

Vazquez finished off a flowing team move to make it 3-0, before second-half substitute Losada beat Thibaut Courtois with a fierce shot into the bottom corner.

La Liga champions Barcelona lost their opening league game of the season on Friday, going down 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao.

Real Madrid Boss Zinedine Zidane To ‘Count On’ Gareth Bale After Eden Hazard’s Injury

Bale came on as a second-half substitute against Roma in pre-season on Sunday

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says he will now “count on” forward Gareth Bale despite previously saying the Wales international could leave.

Bale was expected to join Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning in July.

Zidane said at the time his departure would be a “good thing for everyone” before the Real blocked the move.

New signing Eden Hazard sustained a thigh injury in training on Friday and Bale may now be considered for their La Liga opener at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

“It looked like he was leaving but now he is here and now I’m going to count on him, just like all the other players that are in the squad,” said Zidane.

“He has a contract, he’s an important player and I hope all the players want to make it difficult for me to pick the team.”

As well as Hazard, who is expected to miss three to four weeks, Real are without long-term absentee Marco Asensio and left-back Ferland Mendy, who has a calf problem.

The injuries mean Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez is also in contention to make his first competitive appearance for the club since returning from a two-year loan at Bayern Munich.

“He is in shape and I’m glad to have him,” added Zidane.

Bale, 30, joined the Spanish club for £85m from Tottenham in 2013 in what was then a world record deal.

He has three years left on his contract with the Bernabeu club, where he has won four Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, a Copa del Rey, three Uefa Super Cups and three Club World Cups.

Bale scored three goals, plus a penalty in a shootout, in four Champions League finals for Real as they won the competition in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

However, injury problems have limited him to 79 La Liga starts in the past four seasons.

He played 42 matches for Real Madrid last season but was booed by the home supporters at times during the campaign.

Paris St-Germain Reject Barcelona & Real Madrid Bids For Neymar

Neymar missed Brazil’s Copa America victory this summer because of an ankle injury

Barcelona and Real Madrid have made unsuccessful offers for Paris St-Germain forward Neymar, says BBC Radio 5 Live’s Guillem Balague.

Neymar’s former club Barcelona are believed to have offered 100m euros (£92.4m) plus Philippe Coutinho.

Ivan Rakitic was also discussed with the French club as part of the deal for the 27-year-old Brazil international.

Real have put forward a deal that includes money as well as Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.

PSG asked for Vinicius Junior but Real did not put his name in the frame.

Neither bid has been accepted, but it is thought PSG would prefer to sell to Real.

Neymar became the world’s most expensive player in 2017 when PSG paid him 222m (£205m) so that he could buy himself out of his contract at Barcelona.

The striker has scored 34 league goals in two seasons for the French champions, although injuries interrupted both of those campaigns.

PSG fans held up a banner telling Neymar to “go away” on Sunday as he missed his side’s Ligue 1 opener against Nimes after sporting director Leonardo said on the eve of the game that talks about the Brazilian’s exit were “more advanced than before”.

Wesley Sneijder: Former Real Madrid, Inter Milan And Netherlands Midfielder Retires

Wesley Sneijder inherited the number 23 shirt from David Beckham when he moved to Real Madrid in 2007

Former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder has retired after a 17-year career.

The 35-year-old played a Dutch record 134 times for his country and featured in the 2010 World Cup final.

In a trophy-laden career he won a La Liga title in Spain with Real Madrid and went on to win Serie A, the Champions League and the Coppa Italia treble at Inter Milan in 2009-10.

Sneijder has taken up a new role with his hometown club FC Utrecht.

“Now I’ve retired from football I want a nice place to share my memories. My connection to the town is big,” Sneijder told the Dutch club’s YouTube channel.

A product of the Ajax youth system, Sneijder won the Eredivisie title and two Dutch Cups in Amsterdam before switching to Real Madrid for £23m in 2007.

He helped the Spanish giants win the league in his first season at the Bernabeu and moved on to Italy to become a key figure in Jose Mourinho’s Inter side that won the treble.

His club career in Europe also took him to Galatasaray in Turkey and French club Nice before he finished playing at Al Gharafa in Qatar’s top-flight.

On the international stage Sneijder collected a World Cup runners-up medal in 2010 in South Africa as the Oranje were beaten by Spain in the final.

His displays earned him the Silver Ball for the tournament’s second best player behind Uruguay’s Diego Forlan and four years later he helped Louis van Gaal’s side finish third in Brazil.

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Barcelona Sign Junior Firpo From Real Betis

Junior Firpo played 29 matches for Real Betis last season, scoring three goals

Barcelona have completed the signing of Spain Under-21 left-back Junior Firpo on a five-year contract from Real Betis for a fee which could rise to £27.5m.

The Spanish champions have included a £183m buy-out clause in the Dominican-born 22-year-old’s contract.

Firpo featured in 29 games last season and was part of Spain’s U21 European Championship-winning side in June.

Barcelona previously signed France forward Antoine Griezmann from rivals Atletico Madrid for £107m in July.

Ernesto Valverde’s side have also been bolstered by the additions of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax for £65m, goalkeeper Neto from Valencia and defender Emerson from Brazilian side Atletico-MG.

On Tuesday, the club sold Brazilian winger Malcom to Zenit St Petersburg for £36.5m after one season at the club.

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