Thibaut Courtois believes that he is thriving under the pressure of playing for Real Madrid despite Los Blancos' difficult season.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois signed for Madrid following an impressive showing for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup but his first campaign at Santiago Bernabeu has been a turbulent one.

Courtois has made 27 LaLiga appearances in total so far this term, though he lost his place in the side when Zinedine Zidane succeeded Santiago Solari, with Keylor Navas preferred.

The 27-year-old has since regained his starting spot, but Madrid's form has tailed off and they have won just three of their previous eight league fixtures.

A disappointing campaign comes to a close against Real Betis on Sunday, but Courtois insists that the stresses of playing in front of an expectant Madrid crowd will only have improved his game in the long run.

"It would be good to give one last joy to the fans, go on vacation with a victory and finish the year well to prepare the next season," Courtois said in an interview with Codere.

"We are training with a lot of enthusiasm because we know it was not the best season, but we are improving, we are training very hard to prepare for the next season and we are looking forward to finishing well.

"It's very nice, it's a dream to be able to play in a big stadium, when I'm in the goal and I see the Bernabeu from there it's very beautiful.

"It gives more adrenaline, more desire to play well, it's pressure too but I like to play like that.

"To the fans I ask you to continue supporting us, we know that this year was not the best but the following year we will go for all of them [trophies] again."

Madrid are guaranteed to finish third in LaLiga, with the squad reportedly set for big changes in the off season.

Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic is rumoured to be a priority target, while Gareth Bale has been linked with a move away from Madrid.

Real Madrid duo Marcelo and Vinicius Junior have been left out of Brazil's squad for the Copa America.

Tite revealed his 23-man group on Friday, with experienced Marcelo – one of Brazil's captains during the 2018 World Cup – the headline name to miss out.

The defender has had a difficult season with Madrid, falling out of favour under Santiago Solari and failing to recapture his best form after Zinedine Zidane's return to the club.

Brazil's left-back options for the tournament, which they host, will be Juventus' Alex Sandro and Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis, with Porto full-back Alex Telles not included.

Marcelo's Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior, who was given a first international call-up for Brazil's friendlies against Panama and the Czech Republic in March – only to drop out due to injury – has also not made the cut, with Ajax star David Neres preferred.

Neres joins fellow forwards Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Everton and Neymar, who was missing from Tite's last squad due to the ankle injury which saw him miss three months of the campaign.

Fernandinho, who has not made an international appearance since World Cup 2018, has earned a recall, while Dani Alves is also involved.

Brazil, who take on Qatar and Honduras in pre-tournament friendlies, kick off the Copa America against Bolivia on June 14, with Venezuela and Peru their other opponents in Group A.

Brazil squad in full:

Alisson (Liverpool), Cassio (Corinthians), Ederson (Manchester City); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Dani Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Eder Militao (Porto), Fagner (Corinthians), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Miranda (Inter), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain); Allan (Napoli), Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Lucas Paqueta (AC Milan); David Neres (Ajax), Everton (Gremio), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Richarlison (Everton).

Karim Benzema talked up the relationship he has with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, adamant they are like brothers even if they occasionally "yell" at each other.

Zidane returned to Madrid in March following the sacking of Santiago Solari, the Frenchman having departed the club last May in the wake of winning a third successive Champions League title.

Benzema enjoyed his best season in terms of league goals under Zidane in 2015-16 when he netted 24 times and he was said to be particularly keen on the coach's return when Solari was dismissed.

Unsurprisingly Benzema has been similarly effective since Zidane's reinstatement, scoring eight times in as many games to take his season tally to 21.

And Benzema spoke highly of their relationship, even if they do not always appear to be close.

"I have a very strong relationship with him. He's like a big brother to me," Benzema said on the Quotidien TV show.

"We talk a lot about football and outside of football. He's helped me a lot. I have a lot of respect for him.

"Sometimes we yell at each other when I don't do what he asks on the pitch. You can say I'm the head of Real Madrid [the team], but it is above all the work of a team, not that of one player.

"A very good striker should not just score. He must be able to participate in the game, open spaces, help his team, make the right moves and obviously be present in the key moments."

Madrid finish their campaign on Sunday at home to Real Betis, with neither side having anything left to play for.

Eintracht Frankfurt sensation Luka Jovic would be even more lethal in front of goal for Real Madrid or Barcelona, according to Felix Magath.

Jovic – who has been linked with Barca – is reportedly set to join LaLiga giants Madrid in a €60million deal after taking the Bundesliga and Europe by storm this season.

The 21-year-old in-demand Serbia international forward has scored 27 goals, 10 of those in Eintracht's run to the Europa League semi-finals.

Former head coach Magath – who led Eintracht from 1999 to 2001 – expects Jovic to improve further away from Commerzbank-Arena.

"Luka Jovic scored both in Bundesliga and Europa League on a very consistent basis all season long," Magath told Omnisport.

"For me there is no doubt that a player like him can be even more deadly in front of the goal playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona, where his team-mates surely would provide even more talent."

Jovic has played a key role in Eintracht's remarkable season, both domestically and in Europe as the Bundesliga side fly the German flag abroad.

While Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund struggled in the Champions League, Eintracht defied the odds en route to the Europa League semi-finals before losing to Chelsea on penalties at Stamford Bridge – where Jovic scored to level the tie and force a shoot-out.

It was Eintracht's best European run since winning the 1980 UEFA Cup. Amid the club's continental exploits, they have also threatened to qualify for the Champions League.

Up until week 33, Adi Hutter's Eintracht occupied the fourth and final qualifying spot but they are now sixth, though only one point adrift of Borussia Monchengladbach heading into the final match of the season.

"Obviously, I was as surprised as anyone by Eintracht Frankfurt, especially in the first half of the season," three-time German Manager of the Year Magath, who won the Bundesliga with Bayern and Wolfsburg, said.

"In my opinion, this team provided the best and most attractive style of football within the Bundesliga. Before the winter break only Borussia Dortmund could keep up with Eintracht Frankfurt.

"Hutter's team were not focused on excessive ball possession play, but thrilled everyone with their approach to attack the opponents' goal constantly. Hence they surprised many teams and often dominated their opponents.

"Too bad they only missed out on playing in the Europa league final because of two penalty misses against Chelsea in the semis. I truly believe they would have had a pretty good shot at winning it all this year. Nevertheless, I am pretty sure we will see some more strong showings of Eintracht Frankfurt next season."

Eintracht sporting director Fredi Bobic has been heavily praised for his work, having lured Jovic to the team on an initial two-year loan deal from Benfica before triggering a purchase option reportedly worth €6m last month.

Bobic also completed the shrewd acquisitions of Ante Rebic, Sebastien Haller, Filip Kostic, Sebastian Rode and Kevin Trapp – either on cheap transfers or loan deals.

Magath added: "Bobic clearly improved the club in terms of their sporting direction. Up to now, he has made a lot of very good calls regarding the squad and the coaches selection.

"At the same time, the supporters not only created a sensational atmosphere within the Commerzbank-Arena but around the club over the course of the entire season – in my eyes they impacted heavily on the success of Eintracht Frankfurt."

Alvaro Morata wants Antoine Griezmann's decision to leave Atletico Madrid to be respected.

France forward Griezmann announced this week that he intends to leave Atleti after five years at the club, despite signing a contract extension running until 2023 last year.

Lucas Hernandez and captain Diego Godin are also saying their farewells to the Wanda Metropolitano and, with fan emotion potentially becoming frayed, Morata called for Griezmann's contribution to the Atletico cause to be acknowledged.

"It's a decision that we have to respect, we have to thank him for what he's done for this club, which is a lot, and we respect his decision," said the on-loan Chelsea striker, whose deal means he is set to be with Atleti throughout 2019-20.

"We wish he could have stayed, but he's taken that decision. We are finishing the season, but we have the same excitement for next season.

"Change is always difficult, but we are working to make a competitive team and fight for it all next season.

"We are very motivated in the dressing room for the future, it's very important."

Barcelona are heavily tipped to be Griezmann's next employers, but Morata insists he has "no idea" what his team-mate is planning.

"Everyone found out [he was leaving] in their own way, it depends on the relationship we have with him," he said.

"It doesn't matter how; the situation is what it is. We have to accept it and keep going."

Morata's old club Real Madrid, meanwhile, have been strongly linked with a big-money swoop for Chelsea star Eden Hazard.

"He's one of the best players in the world and could fit in well in any team, the team he wants," Morata said.

"He's a top player and top person, he'd fit in at any team."

Morata was also asked whether Chelsea's pending transfer ban could result in a scenario where he is recalled from his loan.

The Blues intend to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to see if the ban on registering new players for the next two transfer windows can be frozen or overturned, but Morata wants to stay with Atletico regardless.

"I don't know, there are contracts," he added. "My focus is to get on the pitch and play.

"What is clear is what I want - I want to be here.

"I'm not thinking about going back anywhere, only being here. I'm happy here and I want to be here for the years I have left at the top level.

"There are things that players have to not get involved in, there are negotiations and contracts. I did all I could to come to Atletico and I will do everything to stay."

Milan Skriniar has signed a contract extension with Inter, ending speculation he could join Real Madrid or Manchester United.

Defender Skriniar has long been linked with United while his agents claimed in March he was a target for Madrid and Barcelona.

The centre-back, though, regularly indicated he would renew his deal with Inter and the club confirmed on Thursday he has signed fresh terms to 2023.

Slovakia international Skriniar has started 33 Serie A games this term after he was ever-present in the league last season, with Inter third in the table.

"He is the defender with the highest average number of successful passes in this Serie A, 65 per match, with a total percentage of 92.3 per cent," read an Inter statement.

"He won 221 duels and is the third top defender for recovered balls in Serie A. With Skriniar on the pitch for the entire match Inter conceded no goals on 15 occasions in the current tournament."

Inter can seal Champions League qualification for next season when they travel to second-placed Napoli on Sunday.

But Luciano Spalletti's future remains in doubt with former Italy and Juventus coach Antonio Conte reportedly approached to take over for 2019-20.

Antoine Griezmann looks set to be at the heart of 2019's major transfer saga, having announced his intention to leave Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann has been Atletico's leading light since he joined from Real Sociedad five years ago, but he confirmed on Tuesday he will leave the Wanda Metropolitano at the end of the season, with Barcelona reportedly his preferred destination.

Atletico can reflect on a period of success for the club with Griezmann playing a key role, the France forward firing them to Europa League glory last year before winning the World Cup with his country.

Replacing Griezmann will prove a major challenge for Diego Simeone as the striker has scored 133 of their 463 goals in all competitions since 2014-15, 28.7 per cent of the club's total.

But how does that figure compare to some of the other elite strikers of European football in recent seasons?

 

CRISTIANO RONALDO

There was European disappointment for Cristiano Ronaldo this season, but he helped Juventus cruise to another Serie A title and contributed 28 of the 86 goals they scored in all competitions - 32.6 per cent

That figure is remarkably similar to his record at Real Madrid between the 2009-10 and 2017-18 seasons, where he was responsible for 450 of their 1,378 goals - 32.7 per cent - contributing to a historic run of three consecutive Champions League crowns.


LIONEL MESSI

Griezmann could line up with Lionel Messi at Camp Nou next term, with the Argentina attacker on track to win the European Golden Shoe for a record sixth time.

Messi, now captain at Barca, has scored 27.9 per cent of his team's goals since breaking into the team as a teenager in October 2004.

LUIS SUAREZ

Griezmann is widely expected to be a successor to Luis Suarez, with the Uruguay international aged 32 and seemingly coming towards the end of his career.

Suarez has scored 177 of 767 Barcelona's goals in all competitions - 23.1 per cent - since he joined the club from Liverpool in 2014.


ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

Bayern Munich look set to clinch another Bundesliga title, their success continuing to be built around the reliable goalscoring of Robert Lewandowski.

Poland international Lewandowski joined Bayern in July 2014 and has since scored 189 goals in all competitions for the club, 29.7 per cent of their total in that time.


HARRY KANE

Pep Guardiola once famously described Tottenham as 'the Harry Kane team' and the Opta numbers bear out his assessment to a degree.

England captain Kane has scored 30.6 per cent of Spurs' 519 goals in all competitions since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, winning two Premier League Golden Boots in the process.


SERGIO AGUERO

Perhaps surprisingly, Manchester City's all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero has the joint-lowest percentage for his club among the strikers we examined.

Since joining City ahead of the 2011-12 season he has scored 231 of their 1,019 goals in all competitions for a comparatively low 22.7 per cent. However, that still marks a hugely significant contribution to City's ongoing success. 



EDINSON CAVANI

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Edinson Cavani has had an injury-hit campaign for the Ligue 1 champions.

Since 2013-14, Suarez's international team-mate Cavani has scored 192 of PSG’s 847 goals in all competitions - 22.7 per cent - although he did play wide when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at the club.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been singing the Stamford Bridge chant of "Eden Hazard, we want you to stay" to the Belgium international in the hope of persuading him not to join Real Madrid from Chelsea.

Hazard has informed Chelsea of what he plans to do at the end of the season and, with no agreement yet reached to extend his Blues contract beyond 2020, he is widely expected to complete a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 28-year-old has spent seven seasons as a Chelsea player, winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the EFL Cup and the Europa League, but he said victory in this season's final and the promise of Champions League football next term would not be enough to keep him in west London.

Loftus-Cheek has joined a number of Chelsea stars in expressing his appreciation for Hazard and admitted he has adopted the song that has been ringing around the club's stands in recent weeks.

"I've been singing that to his face, in the dressing room!" Loftus-Cheek told Sky Sports.

"I'm sure everyone at the club wants him to stay – players, fans, staff, management included.

"He's such a talent and a player who has contributed to the club massively over the last seven years, the titles he has helped the club win. Everyone has enjoyed watching him play over the past seven years.

"I'm sure the club thanked him for what he's done and if he does decide to move on then I wish him all the best."

Chelsea defender David Luiz echoed Loftus-Cheek's call for Hazard to stay, while comparing the forward's predicament to his own when he left Stamford Bridge five years ago.

The Brazil international spent two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain in the middle of his two spells at Chelsea, and he hopes people would show Hazard the same respect he received when he left.

"I want him to stay also, of course," said David Luiz. "He's a great player, I want him to play with the best. I think he has to decide.

"I decided for myself when I left Chelsea for PSG. It was not easy for me, but it was a decision I took in the moment because my contract was finished.

"I was trying to feel a different challenge, and everyone here was respecting that, so I just respect Eden also.

"He has to decide for himself. He's a great player, a great friend of mine. I just wish him all the best, but I hope he can stay with us."

Paul Pogba needed a year to recover from winning the 2018 World Cup but will bounce back for Manchester United next season, according to Youri Djorkaeff.

The France international has endured a largely difficult campaign at Old Trafford, initially thriving under Jose Mourinho's successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but ending the season in poor form.

He was involved in a confrontation with some United fans on Sunday as players walked around the pitch following their final-day 2-0 home loss to relegated Cardiff City.

Despite the criticism, Pogba ended 2018-19 with 13 Premier League goals and a further nine assists – more than any of his United team-mates managed – and earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year.

And Djorkaeff, who was part of the France team that won the 1998 World Cup on home soil, thinks Pogba's up-and-down season was to be expected.

Speaking courtesy of the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour – Driven by Kia, he told Omnisport. "When you win a World Cup, the following year is usually difficult for everyone, not only Pogba.

"For any world champion, the impact is such that you need a year [to get over it]. Next year, Pogba should reach an even better level.

"He will be able to show his qualities better than he could with Mourinho in Manchester."

Pogba has been linked with a move away from United, with Real Madrid reportedly his preferred destination if he leaves.

Joining the LaLiga giants would allow Pogba to team up with compatriot Zinedine Zidane, a former international team-mate of Djorkaeff.

Zidane's March return to Madrid has been underwhelming, his side suffering two defeats in their past three league matches as their season peters out.

Djorkaeff feels the challenge facing Zidane will be to shape the Madrid squad in his image, with Gareth Bale seemingly among those who are surplus to requirements after being left out of their two most recent matchday squads.

"We were expecting him everywhere. He was linked to many clubs," Djorkaeff said of Zidane. "What's interesting is the way he came back.

"Real Madrid are at the end of a cycle, got knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League and the following week the president [Florentino Perez] decided to change the head coach for someone who knows them well.

"That's a strong message that the Real Madrid president sent to the fans and the socios [members]. It says: 'We'll get the best back, even if he previously left, we'll do whatever it takes to have him back and start the conquest again'.

"Don't forget that they won three Champions Leagues in a row. It was a first. I think that the main change for Zidane is that he's going to build a team.

"The first time, he joined an incredible team, with great players. He's going to build a new team now that I hope will start a new cycle."

Eden Hazard is still focused on Chelsea, according to Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta, who hopes the forward stays at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard, long linked with a move to Real Madrid, only has one year left on his contract and has hinted at wanting to join the LaLiga giants.

Speaking after Chelsea's last Premier League game of the season, Hazard confirmed he has decided his future and informed the club of his intentions "a couple of weeks ago".

Maurizio Sarri has indicated even winning the Europa League final against Arsenal later this month may not be enough to persuade Hazard to stay.

Chelsea fans unfurled a banner urging Hazard to remain at Stamford Bridge during the game at Leicester City on Sunday.

And Azpilicueta, who like Hazard has been at Chelsea since 2012, understands why supporters are so keen to see the Belgium international commit to the club.

"Of course they want him to stay," Azpilicueta told the club's official website of Hazard, who hit 16 Premier League goals and provided a league-high 15 assists in 2018-19.

"Eden has been an important part in the seven years he has been here, he is only focusing on getting good results and lifting the trophy in Baku, and after this his position with the club we will see.

"But everyone here, we love him and we would like him to stay with us."

Chelsea wrapped up their domestic campaign with a 0-0 draw, which was enough to pip Tottenham to third place in the table as the Champions League finalists failed to win at home to Everton.

"Obviously in this season we have had ups and downs, we have arrived in the final of the EFL Cup and lost on penalties, we have had bad games with heavy losses and we have had very good games when we have played well and had good results," Azpilicueta added.

"We are in the final of the Europa League, we finished third when we were a bit in trouble a few weeks ago, so that shows that the league is not easy and we showed character, and at the end we have finished third and play the Champions League next season.

"We started with fourth position in our pocket already but we wanted more. We knew we were facing a good team in very good form. Under their new manager [Brendan Rodgers] Leicester have improved a lot, they have young players and it was their last game at home.

"We were coming from 120 minutes in the [Europa League] semi-final as well so really it was important to finish well and we were unlucky not to win. We were not very effective up front and we could not take the lead, but we were happy to finish third and now we have the big game in Baku."

Chelsea star Eden Hazard has made a decision on his future and told the club what he plans to do at the end of the season.

The Belgium international has long been linked with a transfer to Real Madrid, having not extended his contract at Stamford Bridge, which expires in 2020.

The Blues reportedly want €130million for the forward, who came off the bench in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Leicester City for what could be his final appearance in the Premier League.

Hazard later told reporters that he informed Chelsea of his intentions "a couple of weeks ago" and is "still waiting" for the situation to develop.

"I have made my decision, but it is not just about me," he said. "We have a [Europa League] final to play and then I will see.

"I wanted [to have the situation sorted out] but that's not happened. I'm still waiting like you are waiting and like the fans are waiting."

Chelsea finished third in the Premier League to secure Champions League football next season, while they could yet end the campaign with silverware if they beat Arsenal in the Europa League final, but Hazard says a return to Europe's top competition may not be sufficient to keep him at the club.

"No, I don’t think so," he said. "I have made my decision, that's it."

Hazard gave a thumbs-up to fans after the final whistle, with some displaying a banner calling on the player to commit to the club.

The 28-year-old, who won the Premier League's Playmaker Award after registering 15 assists in 2018-19, insists the speculation over his future has never been a problem for him.

"I have never, never been distracted," he continued. "When you are on the pitch, you try to be focused on the pitch with the ball. That's it.

"When I am on the pitch I just try to do the best. I am not thinking about this and this, my situation or the club's situation. I just try to win games."

Speaking after the draw at the King Power Stadium, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said: "I know very well that Eden tried to do his best for seven seasons at Chelsea.

"He did very well, and he has become one of the best two or three players in the world, but I think that we have to respect him and his decision.

"I hope of course, like every fan of Chelsea, that he will remain with us, but at the moment I don't know."

Zinedine Zidane said it is "very clear" that Gareth Bale was dropped from Real Madrid's squad for their loss to Real Sociedad. 

Bale was not included in Madrid's squad for the trip to Anoeta, which finished 3-1 to Sociedad – Jesus Vallejo seeing red as Los Blancos slipped to a third defeat in their previous five LaLiga fixtures on the road.

Zidane had refused to be drawn on comments from Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett that a transfer would be possible if a large offer were made at the end of the season.

However, Zidane confirmed Bale was able to play on Sunday, adding that he is unsure if the Wales international will feature against Real Betis in Madrid's final LaLiga game.

"Yes," Zidane told a news conference when asked if Bale had been fit to play against Sociedad.

"I do not know if he will play [against Real Betis]. We'll see next week.

"It's very clear what I've done this weekend. Now we have another game and then we will see next year. It is done."

The defeat also ended Madrid's slim hopes of securing a second-place finish in LaLiga, but one positive was the performance of Brahim Diaz.

The former Manchester City forward opened the scoring early on with a wonderful solo strike before Mikel Merino hit back, second-half goals from Joseba Zaldua and Ander Barrenetxea claiming the points for Sociedad.

And Zidane has been pleased with Diaz's progression.

"He has played well, he is a good player," Zidane said of the 19-year-old.

"He is a very interesting player, young and nothing more. We will see what we are going to do next year, but at the moment he has had minutes and he has done well."

Real Madrid's woeful away form under Zinedine Zidane continued as 10-man Los Blancos succumbed to a 3-1 LaLiga defeat at Real Sociedad.

Madrid needed a win, combined with an Atletico Madrid defeat, to keep their chances of leapfrogging their neighbours into second place alive, but they failed to gain a positive result on the road for the fifth straight league game since Zidane started his second spell as coach.

Brahim Diaz put Madrid ahead six minutes in at Anoeta, but Sociedad fought back through Mikel Merino before Jesus Vallejo received a red card for handball.

And though Willian Jose failed to convert the resulting penalty, Joseba Zaldua's header just before the hour and a first senior goal for Ander Barrenetxea earned Sociedad their second win over Madrid this term.

Diaz's first Madrid goal was a memorable one. Having exchanged passes with Karim Benzema, the former Manchester City man skipped past his marker and slotted a composed effort under Geronimo Rulli.

Madrid's lead was cancelled out 20 minutes later, though - Merino hammering home from the edge of the box moments after Mikel Oyarzabal had a goal ruled out for offside, with VAR upholding that decision after a lengthy check.

Matters were made worse for Madrid when Vallejo saw red for using a hand to deny Willian Jose a certain goal, but Sociedad's striker was unable to beat Thibaut Courtois from the spot.

Madrid's goalkeeper was at fault for Sociedad's second goal, however.

Having connected with Ruben Pardo's looping cross, Zaldua sent a header back across goal with Courtois wrong-footed, and Sociedad had the win wrapped up 10 minutes later.

After Oyarzabal rattled the woodwork, 17-year-old Barrenetxea reacted quickest to the loose ball, sending a powerful first-time finish under Courtois, with the crossbar preventing Adnan Januzaj adding further gloss.


What does it mean? Madrid's struggles on the road rumble on

Madrid had been in good form on the road prior to Zidane's return, but they have now failed to win all five LaLiga away fixtures under the Frenchman, losing three - the longest run Los Blancos have gone on without an away victory since April 2006.

Sociedad, meanwhile, have kept themselves in the hunt for a seventh-place finish.


Diaz takes his chance to impress

With Gareth Bale again left out, Diaz was given the opportunity to help lead Madrid's line, and his performance provided at least one positive for Zidane.

Proving his quality with that exceptional early goal, Diaz was an outlet all game, and almost turned provider with a wonderful pass that Benzema nearly latched onto.


Desperate Vallejo's panic proves costly

Vallejo reacted instinctively when he prevented Willian Jose's effort going over the line late in the first half, but his subsequent dismissal meant that Madrid were never likely to get back on the front foot, and Zidane may well have preferred his side go behind than to lose a man.


What's next?

Madrid finish off their disappointing campaign against Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. Sociedad, meanwhile, face Espanyol.

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has won the Premier League's Playmaker Award.

The Belgium international – who came off the substitutes' bench in his side's 0-0 draw with Leicester City on Sunday – has been given the award for his 15 Premier League assists this season.

That total put him one ahead of Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser.

Hazard has been heavily linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid during the off-season after another glittering campaign for the Blues, which has seen him plunder 19 goals in all competitions so far.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri insists he wants the 28-year-old to remain at Stamford Bridge but admits there will be little the club can do if he decides he wants to move.

Speaking after the draw at the King Power Stadium, he said: "I know very well that Eden tried to do his best for seven seasons at Chelsea.

"He did very well and he has become one of the best two or three players in the world, but I think that we have to respect him and his decision.

"I hope of course, like every fan of Chelsea, that he will remain with us, but at the moment I don't know."

The point against Leicester confirmed third place in the Premier League for Sarri's side, who now turn their attention to a Europa League final against Arsenal on May 29.  

Liverpool fans must be wondering what more their team could have done after they picked up 97 points and still did not win the Premier League, yet the Reds are not alone in coming up just short in a title race despite performing superbly.

Jurgen Klopp's side won 30 of their 38 matches and lost just once, only to miss out on the title by one point as Pep Guardiola's Manchester City retained the trophy on Sunday.

Liverpool's 97-point haul is the best accrued by a team that has finished second in the Premier League's 20-club era.

But how does it compare to other runners-up in Europe's major leagues, who racked up the points but still finished without winners' medals?

Scottish Premier League 2002-03: Celtic (97 points)

Finishing second with 97 points has been done before, and Celtic came even closer than Liverpool. Celtic and their Glasgow rivals Rangers finished with identical records (31 wins, four draws and three defeats) but the Gers, who scored 101 times, had a +73 goal difference, one better than the Bhoys' +72. The two had the same goal difference heading into the final round of games but Rangers' 6-1 victory over Dunfermline meant they got the trophy instead of Celtic, who could only win 4-0 against Kilmarnock.

LaLiga 2009-10: Real Madrid (96 points)

After bringing in Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema before the season, Real Madrid would surely have expected to end the campaign with some silverware. Yet it was Guardiola's Barcelona who once again won the title. Madrid scored 102 goals and had 31 victories - as many as Barca. However, four defeats, including two to their great rivals - proved costly in the final standings as Barca finished three clear on 99 points.

Serie A 2017-18: Napoli (91 points)

A 5-0 win over Cagliari at the end of February moved Napoli four points clear at the top of Serie A, yet they were reeled in by a Juventus team that went on to make it seven Scudettos in a row. Maurizio Sarri's Napoli even won at Juventus in April but dropped points in six of their final 12 fixtures, leaving them four adrift of the Bianconeri in the final standings.

Premier League 2011-12: Manchester United (89 points)

Seven years ago City were involved in an even more dramatic title race when they ended a 44-year wait to win the top flight by scoring twice in stoppage time to beat QPR. Their cross-city rivals Manchester United had beaten Sunderland and were waiting on the full-time whistle at the Etihad Stadium but, with 93:20 on the clock, Sergio Aguero rifled in a winner to seal the title for City on goal difference.


Ligue 1 2016-17: Paris Saint-Germain (87 points)

PSG have won six titles in the previous seven seasons, but they were pipped to the crown in 2016-17 by a Monaco team featuring Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva and Fabinho. Monaco, who also reached the Champions League semi-finals, won 18 of their final 20 games, drawing the other two, to clinch the title with an eight-point gap to the Parisians. PSG's response was to splash the cash and sign Neymar and Mbappe in the off-season.

Bundesliga 2015-16: Borussia Dortmund (78 points)

A relentless pace caused by a Guardiola team once again proved too much for the nearest challengers as his Bayern Munich side retained the title by taking 88 points from a possible 102. Dortmund impressed in Thomas Tuchel's first campaign at the helm, winning 24 of their 34 matches, but they still finished 10 adrift of Bayern, whose 5-1 victory in October showed the gulf between Germany's two leading clubs.

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