Real make it 10 Super Cups

Real Madrid claimed a impressive 5-1 aggregate win over fierce rivals Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup following a 2-0 victory on Wednesday night.

Marco Asensio was rewarded with a start at the Santiago Bernabeu and needed just four minutes to open the scoring before a second from Karim Benzema on 39 minutes.

Asensio had already so nearly set up the returning Luka Modric for an early opening goal before hitting the back of the net himself. Having picked up the ball in midfield, the flying winger took just one touch before curling an unstoppable shot past a stranded Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Benzema headed an Asensio cross wide on 12 minutes before Luis Suarez skewed a volley wide, ahead of a big chance for the visitors following a Lionel Messi cut-back to Suarez, only for Sergio Ramos to deny a simple tap-in.

Chances came thick and fast for both sides as Asensio forced a solid save from Ter Stegen before Toni Kroos sliced a post after being fed by Lucas Vázquez, who then rattled the crossbar on 34 minutes.

Real though were always pushing for a second, and Benzema turned well and fired in a half-volley after neatly controlling Marcelo's cross from the left flank.

Messi so nearly pulled a goal back at the start of the second half with a powerful shot that was pushed onto the crossbar by Navas, who then denied Suarez as he connected to a Nelson Semedo ball.

Suarez headed a 67th minute Messi free-kick off target before another passage of play that confirmed this match would not swing in Barcelona's favour, as both Roberto and Suarez were unsuccesful with the goal at their mercy, the Uruguayan dinking his effort off the woodwork.

Real looked to close the game out with some substitutions and time-wasting tactics, leaving Barcelona chasing the ball, and ultimately seeing Real Madrid claim a 10th Super Cup.

Ronaldo's five-match ban appeal rejected

Cristiano Ronaldo's appeal against his five-match ban for pushing a referee has been rejected by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

Real Madrid made the appeal to the RFAF who decided to stand by their sanction against the Portuguese striker.

Ronaldo had come on as a substitute in the Spanish Super Cup first leg 3-1 victory over Barcelona on Sunday, and after scoring a superb goal to restore Real's lead, he was yellow carded for removing his shirt. 

But after being shown a second yellow for what the referee deemed to be diving just two minutes later, in his frustration, Ronaldo was seen to shove Ricardo De Burgos in the back.

In addition to his suspension, Ronaldo was fined €3850 and Real Madrid were ordered to pay a total of €1750.

Ronaldo will naturally not take part in Wednesday's return leg, but Luka Modric returns to the side having missed the last match.

Barca could sue over Paulinho allegations

Barcelona have threatened legal action over reports stating that president Josep Maria Bartomeu will benefit from the transfer of Paulinho.

The 29-year-old Brazilian former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder joined the Primera Division club from Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao for €40million.

He has agreed a four-year deal and will be officially presented to his new fans on Thursday.

But ahead of his unveiling, Barca have released a statement condemning allegations that Bartomeu's company had some illicit involvement in the move.

A statement from Barcelona read: "This morning FC Barcelona have requested a retraction [from] the authors of the article, as well as the media outlet that published the story, in which the president of the club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, is accused of having signed the player Paulinho

"Given the false nature of this news story and the fact that it implies an illegal activity has taken place, if a retraction is not forthcoming both the club and the president as an individual will take the corresponding legal steps.

"These steps will include a specific request for damages incurred with regards to the image of the club.

"FC Barcelona will not tolerate false information to be published which may damage the club or those who form part of said club and it calls for professional responsibility from those who have made use of the story without corroborating the information published."

Bacca joins Villarreal from Milan

Villarreal have completed the signing of striker Carlos Bacca from AC Milan on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy.

The 30-year-old Colombian has spent the last two seasons in Serie A,  where he scored 13 goals in 31 league appearances,  and returns to La Liga having previously played for Sevilla.

Bacca will be a like-for-like replacement for Roberto Soldado, who recently joined Fenerbahce, and leaves Milan after a busy transfer window that saw many arrivals at San Siro, including young Portuguese striker Andre Silva, who would have been above Bacca in the pecking order.

The Yellow Submarine, on their official website, described Baccas as a "renowned goal scorer", and he could be set to make his debut in their Liga opener away to Levante on Monday evening.

Busquets calls for signings at Barca

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets is the latest to insist that the squad must be strengthened for the season ahead.

The Catalans recently sold Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and Busquets insists that they "need to improve each season", as he calls for more arrivals at Camp Nou.

"Obviously Neymar's position is where we've lost something," he said. "It's clear signings are needed. We have to strengthen the squad. We need attacking players to compensate for Neymar.

"But every position can be strengthened, and the more quality players that come in the better. I hope the best players arrive and that they generate competition and give the coach decisions to make."

Barca are reportedly chasing Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund to replace Neymar, and recently spent big to acquire Paulinho from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

The Blaugrana are also preparing for the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid on Wednesday, and currently trail Los Blancos 3-1 from the first leg.

"We know winning the trophy will be difficult but we are not giving up," Busquets added. "We need to score three, but we've done that before at the Bernabeu so we will go out, try to be solid and get ourselves into a position to win the tie."

Zidane slams Ronaldo's five-match ban

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has taken issue with Cristiano Ronaldo’s five-match ban for pushing a referee against Barcelona.

Ronaldo was shown a first yellow card for removing his shirt while celebrating his thumping goal in their 3-1 win over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup.

The Portugal international was then shown a second yellow card for diving soon afterwards, and in his incredulity he pushed referee Ricardo De Burgos, for which he has received an extended punishment.

"What we're going to do is wait for tomorrow," Zidane said. "The committee is going to meet in the morning. After that we will see what we're going to do."

"I'm disappointed. All of us are disappointed. As always, I'm not going to get involved with the referees but, when you see everything that happened…

"We are going to talk to the committee about this as well. When you think he is not going to play in five games for us, something is up. It bothers me and it bothers all of us. It's a lot of games for him and that's all I'll say."

Meanwhile, Madrid defender Dani Carvajal called the ban 'very excessive' ahead of Wednesday’s return leg against Barca.

"Bans and decisions like this decide titles so they have to be as correct as possible," Carvajal said.

"I don't what to talk badly about the referee. For [Ronaldo] it's a very frustrating situation that they sent him off in the way they did.

"We can't get into the heads of the referees. We have to just believe they are trying to do then best they possibly can, as players do as well."

Barca complete Paulinho signing

Barcelona have completed the €40m signing of midfielder Paulinho on a four-year contract from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

The 29-year-old Brazilian has spent the past three years in China after leaving Tottenham in 2015, and the former Corinthians star is now set for his second stint in Europe.

Paulinho has been a regular in the Brazil national team with nine goals and 41 caps to his name, and his deal with Barca will include a release clause of €120m.

Former Barca star Neymar, now of Paris Saint-Germain, wished his countryman well for his time in Catalunya.

"All the fortunes of the world for you," Neymar wrote on Instagram. "I hope you are as happy as I was."

Paulinho is Barca’s third signing of the transfer window after former academy player Gerard Deulofeu was bought back from Everton and Nelson Semedo was recruited from Benfica.

Ronaldo suspended for five matches

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for five matches after he was sent off after two yellow cards and a push on the referee, in Sunday's Super Cup win over Barcelona.

Aside from his red card, the forward appeared to push the referee in the 3-1 victory, which has prompted authorities to increase the player's suspension.

The player got his first yellow after taking his shirt off to celebrate the second goal, however, was further penalised after seeming to push the referee in the game in his back after a dive for the second.

As a result, he will miss Wednesday's second leg in the tie. Coach Zinedine Zidane expressed his frustration with the decision, saying, "Ronaldo's sending-off annoys me because even if it is not a penalty, the card is harsh. We will see if we can do something so that he is available on Wednesday."

Ref Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea said of the sending off, "Once shown the red card, said player (Ronaldo) pushed me lightly as a sign of his disapproval."

 

Zidane not chuffed with Ronaldo's red card

Although pleased with Sunday’s 3-1 win over Barcelona, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is ‘bothered’ by the red card shown to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was booked twice in the closing stages of the Spanish Super Cup first leg at Camp Nou: the first for taking his shirt off after restoring Madrid’s lead, the second for a dive just a couple of minutes later.

"As always, I won’t get into the referee’s performance," Zidane said. "We had a great game. What bothers me is Cristiano’s red card. Maybe there was no penalty, but the card was a bit strong.

"Still, we can’t change it and we’ll try to win [the return leg at Santiago Bernebeu] on Wednesday. With 10 men, we still fought and we believed in the win until the end."

Zidane was also asked about Marco Asensio, whose came on as a substitute and capped off the win with a thunderous third goal in the 90th minute.

"I’m not surprised by Marco," Zidane added. "He’s been phenomenal, he has quality, breaks lines, shoots phenomenally well... It’s nothing new.

"We’re happy with him, like we are with everyone. It’s not easy to enter a game with 15 or 20 minutes to go, but he did so rapidly and made a difference.

"Still, we can talk about all the players, like Isco or Mateo Kovacic. The thing to remember is the team. 

"We’re happy with the result, but the tie isn’t over yet. We still have to play on Wednesday."

Valverde defends 'closely-contested' defeat

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde says it’s not the end of the world after Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid.

Barca were beaten 3-1 in the first leg at Camp Nou, where an own goal from Gerard Pique was cancelled out by a Lionel Messi penalty, before two incredible late strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Marco Asensio.

"We were never out of the match," Valverde said. "With the match a draw, we conceded a wonder goal, then another wonder goal.

"There have been moments when we were close to making it 2-1, but that’s football, you have to take your chances and not only reach the danger zones. Generally, I think it was a closely-contested game and well played by both teams.

"Every team have their own style of play. The danger for us came when they were counterattacking. They’re a team that do well to exploit space and from that came their second goal, which hurt us.

"We don’t like to lose and much less so against Real Madrid, but there are things that we can salvage from the game."

With the second leg of the tie coming up on Wednesday, Valverde added that they "still have to play a second game and things never end after a defeat or a victory".