Overmars: De Ligt won't be sold in January

Ajax have ruled out the sale of Matthijs de Ligt during the January transfer window.

The highly-rated 19-year-old centre-back is a target for a number of top clubs including La Liga giants Barcelona.

While De Ligt's Eredivisie side will not part with him mid-season, a deal could be struck at the end of the current campaign.

De Ligt has a long term contract with Ajax, having signed a four-year contract extension in 2017.

Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars told LaRoma24: "The percentage that De Ligt leaves Ajax in January is zero per cent."

But on a potential sale in June, he added: "Yes, I confirm it is a possibility."

De Ligt has also been linked with the likes of Roma and Manchester City.

Man City refute Messi bid claims

A Manchester City spokesperson says the club did not offer to triple Lionel Messi's wages.

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak told reporters this weekend that the Barcelona star turned down an offer from the Premier League side.

According to Al Mubarak, an offer was tabled for Messi in 2016 but that he chose to remain in Spain.

As reported by FourFourTwo, the chairman said: "We asked (Pep) Guardiola to talk to [Messi].

"We offered to triple the salary he has at Barcelona, but he did not accept it."

But City have come out to deny any such talks occurred, with a City spokesperson quoted as saying: "We deny the veracity of these quotes."

Messi is in fine form again this season for the Catalan club with 11 goals in 11 games in all competitions so far.

Saul: I want to retire at Atletico

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who has been linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid, has said he wants to spend the rest of his career at his current club.

Saul was heavily linked with Barca during pre-season, but remained at the Wanda Metropolitano. Having already told El Larguero that a move to Real Madrid would be "unthinkable", he has now stated his intention to stay with Atleti for as long as he can.

Asked whether or not he will retire at his current club, Saul told Radio Nacional Espana: "That's why I signed a long-term contract.

"That's my intention, to be at Atletico Madrid all my life, but in the world of football you never know.

"For me, yes [I want to retire at Atletico], but maybe I have a bad couple of years and then they grow to not love me anymore."

A versatile player who is capable of slotting into Diego Simeone's backline, Saul has already passed the 200-game mark for his club aged just 23.

This season, he has played in seven of their eight La Liga games.

Francisco handed Huesca reins

La Liga basement club Huesca have wasted little time in finding Leo Franco's successor after appointing Francisco as their new head coach.

Franco stepped into the breach during the off-season following Rubi's departure to Espanyol, shortly after guiding the Aragon outfit to their first-ever promotion to the top tier of Spanish football.

However, the Argentine's tenure lasted just eight games as he was sacked on Tuesday with the team rock-bottom in the standings and winless in six matches.

Huesca have moved swiftly to fill the void by announcing Francisco as his replacement 24 hours later. The 40-year-old will be presented to the media on Thursday before overseeing his first training session.

Francisco became the youngest coach in Spain's top flight when he took charge of Almeria for the 2013/14 campaign.

Spells with Segunda Division sides UCAM Murcia and Lugo followed, before being handed the reins at Cordoba in June. However, he quit the Andalusians less than two months later due to financial issues at Nuevo Arcangel.

Griezmann: Mbappe like Ronaldo was at United

Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann has urged France team-mate Kylian Mbappe to focus on scoring more goals, likening him to Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to Griezmann, with a change in mentality, Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe can become more lethal in front of goal, as Ronaldo did after moving from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

"Kylian reminds me of Cristiano when he was in Manchester," he told France Football. "Cristiano was the guy out wide, doing a lot of dribbling and occasionally scoring. He was not looking for goals, though.

"When Kylian does what Cristiano did in Madrid, thinking only about scoring, then he will do the same. He will be scoring 50 goals per season."

Mbappe scored an astonishing four goals in PSG's 5-0 win over Lyon, but also missed several chances. According to Griezmann, the 19-year-old is not as good at finishing as one might think.

"In front of goal in training, Kylian is not all that," he said. "I tease him often - I ask him how he manages to score so many goals. When we do finishing drills, he never wins. As soon as he changes that, though, he will be a force to be reckoned with."

Griezmann also revealed that he contacted the teenager after PSG's 3-2 defeat to Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League, in order to offer him some advice.

"Kylian has to want to go and score - the goal that he scored against Liverpool came from the middle," the 2018 World Cup winner added.

"I messaged him afterwards and said: 'You need to call for the ball closer to the goal. If we do not give you the ball, you need to lose the guy. You must get on the ball in the middle'."

Sampaoli: Messi can still win a World Cup

Former Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has claimed that Lionel Messi may still win a FIFA World Cup title despite another disappointment in 2018.

Sampaoli presided over the Albiceleste's disappointing World Cup campaign in Russia, which saw them scrape through the group stages and crash out of the last 16 against eventual champions France.

Lionel Messi at times struggled to find his best form during the tournament, but Sampaoli has heaped praise on the Barcelona star.

"Being able to coach Messi was incredible, Especially to see him so committed. He suffered a lot when we didn't win," the 58-year-old told Marca.

"The best player in history was very committed. Leo suffered like no-one else the impossibility of being (world champion). Having him forces you to have no margin of error when it comes to winning."

On Messi's chances of winning the trophy four years from now in Qatar, Sampaoli said: "Of course he can be champion. But this needs a process, especially after everything which has happened.

"It's to say, if the Copa America isn't won, you have to keep the process going, don't break it.

"Enough of this craziness of if you don't win, you're a loser. And it's not like that. If you believe it, You could win even if it's late. But you have to believe."

Pellegrini: Real Madrid shouldn't have let Ronaldo go

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has claimed that Real Madrid, a club which he previously managed, should have held onto Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo signed for Juventus from the European champions for a fee reportedly in the region of 100 million Euros during the off-season.

Los Blancos have got the 2018/19 season off to a poor start without the Portuguese superstar, picking up just 14 points from their opening eight La Liga matches.

"Madrid have lost a lot of goals; Cristiano took too many goals with him when he left. He should have ended his career in Madrid and I was surprised they allowed him to leave," Pellegrini told Spanish radio show El Larguero.

"There is a difference between [Gareth] Bale and Cristiano, who has made the difference for the last 10 years."

One man who has been widely tipped as a possible replacement to Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, has admitted that playing for Real Madrid has long been a dream of his. According to Pellegrini, that would be a match made in heaven.

"He is a player of great quality," said the former Manchester City boss of the Chelsea star. "He is playing at an extraordinary level and making the difference. He can play at any club in the world."

Morata: Hazard has good relationship with Chelsea

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has claimed that despite his desire to join Real Madrid, Eden Hazard has a good relationship with his current club.

Hazard has been in fine form for the Blues this season, but once again opened up transfer speculation by admitting that he has dreamt about a move to Real Madrid since he was a child.

Morata, who previously played for Los Blancos himself, has admitted that it would be unreasonable to deny Hazard's intention to leave for the Bernabeu, but insisted that all is well between the Belgian and Chelsea.

"If he has said it so clearly then it is because it is the case," Morata was quoted as saying by Marca on Hazard's Real Madrid comments.

"We have said that it is not a case of him wanting to leave Chelsea but more that Madrid make a move for him. He wouldn't be a problem.

"What the situation is, is that he has a good relationship with the club, he is very happy and it is not like other cases where someone wants to leave the club whatever."

In all competitions, Hazard has scored eight goals for Chelsea in six starts and four substitute appearances this season.

Huesca part ways with Franco

Leo Franco's debut season as head coach has lasted just eight games after La Liga newcomers Huesca gave him the boot on Tuesday.

The Aragon outfit were promoted to the Spanish top flight for the first time in their history last season via the play-offs, with Rubi at the helm.

However, Rubi subsequently left for Espanyol and Franco stepped into the breach from his role as director of external relations.

They couldn't have wished for a better start after opening the 2018/19 campaign with a 2-1 win at Eibar, before holding Athletic Bilbao to a 2-2 draw.

But things took a turn for the worst as an 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Barcelona sparked a run of six matches without a win, leaving Franco's side rooted to the foot of the table.

Sunday's 1-0 reverse at Real Valladolid led to the board taking action and the Argentine has been relieved of his duties.

"Huesca appreciates the commitment and great dedication shown during all his positions at the club and having been part of a project that he has helped grow," read a statement from the club.

Alcacer much happier at Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund loanee Paco Alcacer admits he is happy to be playing again after two years on the fringes of the first team at Barcelona.

The 25-year-old striker made a dream move to Barca in 2016 from hometown club Valencia, where he had progressed through the youth ranks.

However, Alcacer found his opportunities limited at the Camp Nou, with Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho all ahead of him in the pecking order up front.

The Spain international opted for a new challenge in the off-season and joined Dortmund on an initial 12-month loan. They have an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the current campaign.

He has hit the ground running in Germany, scoring six goals in his first three Bundesliga appearances - equaling a 55-year record held by former Hamburg striker Gert Dorfel.

"In the end, it all comes down to making decisions. Being at Barcelona for years, not having a leading role, not everything going as I had wanted..." Alcacer said at a news conference.

"I decided to look for minutes elsewhere. A player with confidence is better than one without confidence. I left in order to feel happy playing.

"The decisions I was able to make, I made. The conversations with [coach] Ernesto [Valverde] were private and I decided to look for minutes elsewhere. At Barca, with Luis Suarez, Messi, Dembele... it's tough to play.

"All my team-mates have helped me a lot since the first day. I had difficulty with the language and with the change. They've made it really easy for me and I've adapted well."

Carvajal: I'd like to play in Premier League

Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal has revealed that he dreams of playing in the Premier League before his career comes to a close.

Carvajal has won four UEFA Champions League titles since joining Real Madrid from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013. While part of him wants to spend the rest of his career with Los Blancos, he does not want to miss out on the chance to play in England.

"I do think about it," he was quoted as saying by Goal when asked if he had considered playing abroad.

"And I am clear that I want to play in the Premier League. It is an experience that I really want to have.

"I don't want to be left wondering what it would be like. But, on the other hand, I would like to spend my whole career here, which would be something very nice, too."

The 26-year-old's contract at Real Madrid will only expire in 2022, but the club signed another international right-back, Alvaro Odriozola, from Real Sociedad in July.

Carvajal is set to miss Spain's friendly against England on Monday with a calf injury.

Real Madrid dominate Ballon d'Or shortlist

The full 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or has been released by France Football, with eight Real Madrid players featuring on the illustrious list.

The winner will be announced on 3 December in Paris, where a Women's award and the Kopa Trophy for the youngster of the year will be handed out for the first time.

The Ballon d'Or, which is voted on by a panel of international journalists, is separate from FIFA's The Best awards after FIFA and France Football ended their collaboration in 2016.

Luka Modric beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah to FIFA's Player of the Year award, with five-time winner Lionel Messi failing to make the podium.

The four superstars are unsurprisingly all among the final nominees for the Ballon d'Or.

The Bundesliga and the Eredivisie are not represented on the men's player of the year shortlist, but do have players vying for the Kopa in Dortmund's Christian Pulisic and Groningen's Ritsu Doan.

The full 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist:

Sergio Aguero (Man City), Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Gareth Bale (R Madrid), Karim Benzema (R Madrid), Kevin de Bruyne (Man City), Edinson Cavani (PSG),
Thibaut Courtois (R Madrid), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Diego Godin (Atl Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atl Madrid), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Isco (R Madrid),
Harry Kane (Tottenham), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Marcelo (R Madrid),
Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (R Madrid), Neymar (PSG), Jan Oblak (Atl Madrid), Paul Pogba (Man Utd),
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (R Madrid), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (R Madrid).

The Kopa Trophy shortlist:

Trent Alexander-Arnold (England / Liverpool), Houssem Aouar (France / Lyon), Cutrone (Italy / AC Milan), Ritsu Doan (Japan / Groningen), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy / AC Milan), Justin Kluivert (Netherlands / AS Roma), Kylian Mbappe (France / Paris Saint-Germain), Christian Pulisic (USA / Borussia Dortmund), Rodrygo (Brazil / Santos), Amadou Haidara (Mali / Red Bull Salzburg)

The Women's Ballon d'Or shortlist:

Lucy Bronze (England), Pernille Harder (Denmark), Ada Hegerberg (Norway), Amandine Henry (France), Lindsey Horan (US), Sam Kerr (Australia), Fran Kirby (England), Saki Kumagai (Japan), Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany), Amel Majri (France), Marta (Brazil), Lieke Martens (Holland), Megan Rapinoe (US), Wendie Renard (France), Christine Sinclair (Canada)

Vidal denies Valverde fall-out

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has played down rumours of a fall-out with coach Ernesto Valverde over his lack of playing time.

Vidal joined from Bayern Munich in August, but has only started two La Liga games for the defending champions since.

His social media posts have fuelled speculation of a rift between himself and his coach. After only playing three minutes of the 4-2 win over Tottenham, he posted an angry emoji.

Furthermore, he courted controversy for a post saying that "you don't fight with Judases as they hang themselves", which he quickly deleted. Vidal has admitted to being unhappy with a lack of playing time, but insisted he has no problem with Valverde.

"I am not happy but if I have a problem with the coach I will say it to his face," the Chilean midfielder said.

"How am I going to be happy if I don't play, and me of all people? I am someone that has always fought, that has been in the best teams in the world, that has won everything and who wants to continue winning at Barcelona.

"I am fine physically and happy. In the past few games I have been a little irritated but that's how it is, we will keep battling, there are a lot of important games ahead and we will see."

On his social media posts, Vidal said: "You can have various reasons for doing these things.

"It (the Judas message) was nothing to do with anything sporting and I took it down to stop people speculating. There are personal things, jokes which you can put on social media and people take the wrong way."

Vidal is currently on international duty with Chile, but will hope to be handed another start when Barca return to action against Sevilla on 20 October.

Guti: Lopetegui is a great coach

Real Madrid legend Guti, now working as Besiktas' assistant coach, has come out in defence of under-fire Blancos boss Julen Lopetegui.

Lopetegui took charge of Real Madrid after being dismissed from his role as Spain coach a day before the World Cup due to a dispute regarding his announcement of his plan to take over at the Bernabeu.

However, life in Madrid hasn't gone according to plan for Lopetegui, with the European champions having picked up just 14 points from their opening eight league games. Furthermore, they have lost three and drawn one of their last four matches in all competitions.

Guti, who spent 15 years as a first team player at Real Madrid after rising through the ranks, has defended Lopetegui's credentials.

"Of course you have to be patient with him, he's a great coach and proved that with Spain and he will prove it at Real Madrid," the 41-year-old was quoted as saying by Marca.

"I don't know [about Real Madrid's poor form], the truth is I don't follow it much because our schedules clash.

"I see that things aren't going too well."

The former midfielder hopes to soon become a first team coach himself, having coached in Los Blancos' academy before taking his current job at Besiktas.

"I decided to leave Real Madrid's academy and go to Turkey for that reason," he said.

"To keep developing to be able to take charge of a team as soon as possible.

"There is no rush, I am happy with the situation that I'm in.

"In football you never know, I'm not going to say that I'll stay but my priority now is to be here."

7 Premier League players in first 15 Ballon d'Or nominees

The first 15 Ballon d'Or nominees, revealed by France Football, consist of seven Premier League players, six from La Liga, one from Ligue 1 and one from Serie A.

The 30-man shortlist for the annual award, which is separate from FIFA's The Best award, which was won by Luka Modric, is being announced in groups of five.

France Football's editorial office is responsible for drawing up the shortlist, which will be voted on by a panel of international journalists, with one representing each country.

N'Golo Kante, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, Roberto Firmino, Kevin de Bruyne, Alisson and Sergio Aguero are the contestants among those announced who are currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Thibaut Courtois, Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann and Isco, all playing in La Liga, are also on the list, while Cristiano Ronaldo is the lone Serie A representative so far and Edinson Cavani the only one from Ligue 1.

The Ballon d'Or is split into three separate criteria: performances during the calendar year, talent and fair play, and career achievements.

Each panel member will pick their top five from the shortlist, with their first choice earning six points, their second four, their third three, their fourth two and their fifth one.

The player with the most points will be awarded the Ballon d'Or, while the player with the most first picks will claim the prize in the event of a tie.

Pique: My critics should rather 'enjoy the sun'

Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique believes there are certain people who want him to fail and are eager to criticise him whenever he makes a mistake.

The 31-year-old made an error in the 2-1 defeat to Leganes last month and once again was at fault for Valencia's second-minute opener on Sunday as his poor clearance led to Ezequiel Garay's goal in the 1-1 draw.

The Spain international says he is frustrated with the amount of scrutiny he is under and has told his critics to stop focusing on him and enjoy life instead.

"I know that there are many people who are hoping that things don't go well for me," he told the press after the draw.

"They can enjoy it, they should come out of their caves and enjoy the sun. There are many people waiting for me and want to go for me.

"When we concede a goal it's my fault, there are people who are waiting for me, but not only in Madrid.

"The TV can take advantage, come out of the cave, because this is going to change."

Messi can only earn Barca a draw

Barcelona missed out on the chance to go top of the table in La Liga after they were held to a 1-1 draw by a hard-working Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday.

  • Valencia 1 Barcelona 1
  • Garay (2') taps home from close range
  • Messi (23') equalises with accurate shot
  • Neto pulls off sharp save to deny Messi
  • Barca a point behind Sevilla at summit

Match summary

Ernesto Valverde's side were trailing as early in the second minute when they made a hash of a corner to allow Ezequiel Garay to convert from close range.

As usual, it was left to Lionel Messi to rescue the Blaugrana as he produced a clinical finish from outside the box to equalise, but there would be no further heroics from the Argentine as Los Che earned a deserved share of the spoils.

Full report

Valencia made a dream start in front of their home fans as the Barcelona defence was exposed in just the second minute.

An in-swinging corner from the left flicked off Thomas Vermaelen and struck Gerard Pique on his back to present Garay with the simplest of finishes from just one yard out.

Marcelino's troops threatened again on six minutes when Goncalo Guedes got away from Nelson Semedo on the left and cut the ball back for Kevin Gameiro, who laid it off for Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian did well to fashion an opening on the left before flashing a shot fractionally wide of the right post from 15 yards out.

Their early dominance continued as Geoffrey Kondogbia curled an effort just wide of the left post from 20 yards out in the seventh minute, before Batshuayi forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a save with a low strike from just outside the box on 12 minutes after a neat touch from Gameiro.

Barca's first chance saw Luis Suarez attempt to catch Neto off his line on 18 minutes, but the Uruguayan's ambitious shot from 40 yards out on the right sailed wide of the near post.

Neto was called into action for the first time three minutes later, although Messi's curler from 21 yards out went straight into the keeper's waiting arms.

Parity was restored soon afterwards, though, as Messi played a one-two with Suarez and drilled a low shot into the bottom-right corner of the net beyond a diving Neto from the top of the D.

The visitors survived a scare six minutes before half-time when Jose Gaya flashed an effort across the face of goal from an angle on the left after Denis Cheryshev's initial shot was blocked by Semedo.

There were early chances at both ends in the second half, with Cheryshev firing just over the crossbar from inside the D on 48 minutes, before Philippe Coutinho drew a routine save out of Neto with a low curler from 17 yards out on the left two minutes later.

Neto had to be alert to prevent Messi from slotting home at the near post from the tightest of angles on the left in the 55th minute, while at the other end Dani Parejo sent a volley drifting wide of the far post from 20 yards out on the left moments later.

The hosts worked tirelessly to remain in the contest and Gameiro lashed a shot over the bar from an acute angle on the right in the 61st minute, after Arthur was pressed into a mistake just outside his own area.

Messi could only find the side-netting with a right-footed shot from an angle on the left in the 80th minute after he controlled Sergio Busquets' clipped cross on his chest, before Cheryshev's deflected strike was easily dealt with by Ter Stegen at his near post three minutes later, as Barca had to settle for a point.

Injuries compound Real's problems

Real Madrid's woes have been compounded by injuries to Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

The Spanish giants are on a woeful run of form, and without a win in four games in all competitions.

After losing to Sevilla in the league, Real were then held to a 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid before a shock 1-0 loss to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

Manu Garci then popped up in the 90th minute at the Estadio de Mendizorroza on Saturday to secure a 1-0 victory for Deportivo Alaves over Madrid.

After the game, coach Julen Lopetegui confirmed the injuries to Benzema, who came off at half-time, and Bale, who played until the 80th minute.

Lopetegui said: "Karim and Gareth had injuries, so we had to make decisions regarding changes.

"That's football, that's the way it goes, and today all the negatives came out. We have the international break now, so we can get back to what we're doing."

Madrid have now failed to score in four straight games for the first time since 1985.

After the international break, Los Blancos will return to action against Levante on 20 October.

Lopetegui not worried about Real Madrid sack

Although Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui knows that nothing can be taken for granted in football, he has insisted he is not worried about his job security.

Los Blancos continued their abysmal run of form on Saturday with a 1-0 defeat to Alaves. As a result, they have now lost three of their last four games across competitions, drawing the other 0-0 to Atletico Madrid.

Just eight league games into his stint as Real Madrid coach, the former Spain boss finds himself under pressure. However, he has claimed to be unperturbed.

"Coaches are always exposed, but we are not thinking about [the sack]," Lopetegui told a news conference.

"The dynamic is negative. Things are not going as we wanted. We are disappointed, of course. We wanted to win. We know how the life of a coach is, and even more at Real Madrid.

"The coach is always responsible, ahead of the players, no doubt about that. But we are still in October and at worst three points off the top. We now have time to get some very important players back."

Real Madrid still trail Barcelona only on goal difference at the top of the table, but the Catalans will play their game in hand against Valencia on Sunday night.

After the international break, Los Blancos will return to action against Levante on 20 October.

Dream season continues for Alaves with Real win

An added time goal by Manu Garcia at the Mendizorrotza Stadium on Saturday evening saw Deportivo Alaves shocking the mighty Real Madrid in a 1-0 La Liga win.

  • Deportivo Alaves 1 Real Madrid 0
  • Garcia scores a 95th minute winner
  • Alaves move level on 14 points with Real Madrid and Barcelona

Match Summary

Apart from a couple of early chances, the first half was largely uneventful, with the underdogs doing well to limit the European champions' chances before creating a few openings of their own. Real continued to enjoy most of the ball in the second half but their attacks were laboured and instead it was the hosts who offered more threat on attack.

Full Report

Madrid were on top from the outset and had three chances in the opening six minutes as Karim Benzema and Dani Ceballos both had shots turned away by home keeper Fernando Pacheco before Nacho sent a header wide.

It then took a goal-line clearance from Ximo Navarro to clear a ninth minute Benzema header off the line before Gareth Bale headed over on the rebound after a 16th minute free kick.

Having survived those early scares, Alaves had chance of their own midway through the half as Jony was denied by Thibaut Courtois before Madrid defender Raphael Varane did well to clear a dangerous cross from Jonathan Calleri.

The home side continued to show promise in attack after the interval and they had the first chance of the second half when Jony's 51st minute cross picked out Ibai Gomez, but he took too long to shoot and Varane intervened.

Courtois was then called into action to keep out a shot from range by Ruben Duarte on the hour mark as Alaves continued to create chances, despite enjoying minimal ball possession.

There was another excellent opportunity for the hosts 13 minutes from time when the lively Jony pulled a 15-yard-shot inches wide of the right post.

At the other end, Pacheco had to scramble the ball off his line after he had failed to hold onto a Bale free kick in the 79th minute.

After Jony fired a shot over the bar a couple of minutes before the end of regulation time, it was left to Manu Garcia to grab the headlines when he scored a late, late winner, nodding in at the back post after a corner kick had been headed back across the goal as Julen Lopetegui's side suffered their second La Liga defeat of the season.