Barcelona are set to appeal a €300 fine over their approach for Antoine Griezmann, confirmed coach Ernesto Valverde.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced on Thursday Barca had been found guilty of violating article 126 of its disciplinary code during their pursuit of the Frenchman while he was at Atletico Madrid.

Barca signed Griezmann in July for €120million but Atletico claimed they were owed a further €80m, alleging an agreement between the player and LaLiga's champions being reached before his release clause dropped from €200m

A symbolic monetary penalty was imposed by the RFEF, while Griezmann escaped without sanction. However, Barca are appealing against the fine.

"I don't know the exact ins and outs of this question or how it stands legally," Valverde told a news conference. "I understand the club is appealing."

It has been a busy week off the field for Barca, with Friday seeing the Catalan giants in court with former star Neymar, who alleges he is owed a loyalty bonus from his time at the club.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Barca in the close season and reports suggested the Brazil forward was willing to drop the case if the club promised to re-sign him.

"This never stops does it? In August we were waiting for the transfer market to close, but the Neymar matter continues," Valverde added. 

"I've got nothing to say, it's an internal club issue and for the player on a contractual matter, it's not my concern.

"Has there been a press conference without Neymar's name being brought up? Let's try to do it once this season."

Neymar's Brazil team-mate Arthur was seen having dinner with the Paris Saint-Germain forward this week.

Last season the midfielder was criticised for travelling to Paris to attend Neymar's birthday shortly before Barcelona's Copa del Rey clash with Real Madrid.  

"I think Arthur learned a lot last season, one of those things was what you're talking about," Valverde added. "I think he's fine at the moment and hope things stay this way.

"It's not up to me to evaluate further than him going out for dinner with a friend. He's fine and I hope he stays that way for the rest of the season."

Barcelona have announced Carles Perez has agreed a new three-year deal.

Perez was in the last year of his contract but has committed his future to Camp Nou through to 2022.

Injuries to fellow attackers Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele have led to more opportunities for Perez this term.

The 21-year-old has made five LaLiga appearances and scored his first Barcelona goal in the 5-2 rout of Real Betis.

Barcelona, seeking a third consecutive title under Ernesto Valverde, are sixth in the LaLiga table after a 2-1 win over Villarreal last time out.

Rodrygo Goes will not feature for Real Madrid in El Derbi against Atletico Madrid in LaLiga on Saturday as Zinedine Zidane manages his workload.

The teenage Brazilian forward impressed on his senior debut on Wednesday, scoring Madrid's second goal just 93 seconds after coming on as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Osasuna that put them top.

But Rodrygo will play for the club's second-string Castilla side on Saturday versus Rayo Majadahonda instead of turning out amid the white-hot atmosphere of the Wanda Metropolitano.

"We know what we're doing with Rodrygo and today he trained with Castilla, tomorrow he's going to play with Castilla," head coach Zidane told a pre-match news conference on Friday.

"He's a first-team player and I'm very happy with what happened the other day.

"But we and he knows we're going to go bit by bit with him. We had already taken the decision [over him playing for Castilla this weekend] and for the next game we will see.

"Tomorrow he will play with Castilla and he is very happy."

It means plenty of the onus will fall upon another recent recruit, Eden Hazard.

The Belgium attacker has suffered an injury-interrupted start to life at the Santiago Bernabeu and is yet to play a full 90 minutes after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Hazard was as an unused substitute against Osasuna, but Zidane has no doubts about his capacity to make an impact on the big occasion.

"Listen, we know the quality of player we have and we know that he's going to deliver," he said.

"He did it the other day in Seville. I'm sure everyone expects a lot from him, he knows that.

"We're supporting him, he's with us. Game by game I'm sure he's going to be the player that we want him to be here in this Real Madrid team."

Zidane refused to disclose who would start in goal after Alphonse Areola came in for Thibaut Courtois last time out, while Luka Modric and Isco returning to training following muscular complaints boosts his creative options.

Atletico Madrid host LaLiga leaders and city rivals Real Madrid this weekend with Joao Felix still feeling his way in to life as their club-record signing.

Brought in as a direct replacement for Antoine Griezmann following the France forward's controversial switch to Barcelona, Joao Felix has shown flashes of the brilliance that persuaded Atleti to pay his €126million release clause to buy him from Benfica.

The teenager exploded onto the scene with 15 Primeira Liga goals last season, while he hit a superb hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The expectations on his shoulders at Atletico are a different story, however, with Joao Felix having two goals and an assist to show for his six LaLiga appearances at his new club.

With Zinedine Zidane's unpredictable Madrid visiting the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday and Atleti having not won a home LaLiga derby since 2015, Joao Felix will face the biggest test of his club career to date.


PARTNERSHIP WITH COSTA NEEDS WORK

On paper, Diego Costa looks like an ideal partner for Joao Felix, with his street smarts and aggressive nature aspects the teenager is undoubtedly lacking.

Costa's experience should be invaluable too, with the Brazil-born Spain international having fired Atletico to their most recent title in 2013-14 when he scored a career-best 27 league goals.

But the 30-year-old's form has been a concern for some time, dating back to his return from Premier League side Chelsea, and his opener in Tuesday's 2-0 victory at Real Mallorca was only the second competitive goal he has managed in 2019.

Data from Opta shows Joao Felix has only passed to Costa seven times during their 279 minutes on the pitch together in LaLiga this season, with the ball going in the other direction on just six occasions. Linking up effectively has been a challenge with Joao Felix typically drifting out to the right, where he combines with Koke.

Although Joao Felix also netted in the Mallorca win to send Atleti into the derby on a high note after they drew a blank in back-to-back league games, this must be an area of concern for Diego Simeone, who is without Alvaro Morata through suspension this weekend.

Costa and Joao Felix will surely develop their understanding in time and the duo were extremely effective when Atletico destroyed Madrid 7-3 during the International Champions Cup in pre-season, a game in which Costa scored four goals and was twice assisted by the Portuguese.

Only once have they combined for a goal in LaLiga this term, Costa setting up Joao Felix to spark Atleti's 3-2 comeback win at home to Eibar on September 1, and this needs to improve.


FITNESS ANOTHER POTENTIAL ISSUE

Adapting to a new league physically, as well as making the step up in class, was always going to be a challenge for Joao Felix.

His slight figure is in sharp contrast to the imposingly barrel-chested strike partner Costa, who can bounce defenders out of his way.

Although he produced a brilliant solo run from inside his own half to win a penalty against Getafe on his LaLiga debut, occasionally Joao Felix has been pushed off the ball too easily.

Perhaps this has led to frustrations for the teenager as he has committed seven fouls in his six LaLiga appearances to date, while he has been brought down on eight occasions.

The rough and tumble nature of some matches has also posed a problem. Joao Felix was taken off in the first half of a friendly against Numancia after taking a bang to his hip and some opposition players have seemingly targeted him.

Although Simeone has selected the Portugal international in all six of his LaLiga line-ups this term, while he also started against Juventus in the Champions League, he has been substituted five times.

Confidence is not an issue for Joao Felix, but he has fired more shots off target (six) than on target (five) in the top flight for Atleti, while he has lost possession at an average of 9.83 times per match. Indeed, he has completed 84 passes and 25 have gone astray, a far from impressive ratio, with just two chances created.

Time is on Joao Felix's side, however. At the same stage of the 2018-19 season, Griezmann's last for the Rojiblancos after winning the World Cup with France, he had only scored twice in LaLiga. Joao Felix has matched that tally already.

February 2018, Gareth Bale tore up Real Madrid's left flank and played an inch-perfect cross into the centre for Karim Benzema to further embarrass Real Sociedad and surely wrap up a 6-2 mauling at the Santiago Bernabeu.

But Benzema remarkably sliced his first-time effort over the crossbar from about seven yards when it appeared impossible to miss – Madrid's fans held up their infamous reputation and rained a torrent of jeers down on the much-maligned Frenchman.

It had become par for the course with Benzema, who was relentlessly whistled by his own supporters through the 2017-18 campaign. But this time Cristiano Ronaldo took a stand, wagging his finger disapprovingly at those responsible before seeming to sarcastically applaud the fans behind 'Gol Sur'.

Benzema's relationship with Los Blancos fans had already been strained for a long time, with criticism morphing into boos, jeers and whistles in 2013, while the striker spoke publicly of his confusion around the situation in 2017.

"The hardest part is when the criticism comes from your own fans. They are normally there to boost you," he said to Canal Plus, revealing his bafflement.

Benz on the brink

The flak reached its zenith during the 2017-18 season.

Benzema scored just five times in 32 LaLiga matches, converting 7.94 per cent of his chances and averaging a goal every 431.2 minutes. Though there was the caveat of a solid haul of 10 assists, it was an extremely challenging year for the forward.

Benzema could hardly suggest it was a momentary blip either, as 11 goals from 29 matches the previous season was similarly underwhelming.

Such form looked set to cost Benzema dear, as he appeared destined to leave in 2018. That horror miss against La Real was followed by strong transfer rumours a couple of weeks later, with the Chinese Super League or a return to France apparently beckoning.

What goal problem?

Coach Zinedine Zidane never passed up the chance to defend Benzema during those dark days, and one has to assume the striker would have left several years ago were the former 'Galactico' not fighting his corner.

Quite simply, Zidane 'gets' Benzema.

"I don't agree with the criticism. What interests me is not just his goals. I like what Karim does for the team, he's one of the best in this regard, and in the team game - I value that a lot. I'm going to defend Benzema to death," Zidane said ahead of the 2017 Club World Cup final.

After all, during those two onerous campaigns, Benzema recorded 18 assists across all competitions – add that figure to his 31 goals, then he had 49 goal involvements in 95 matches.

"You had a rocket [Bale] and a goalscorer [Ronaldo], and then there was me, the piece that made it all work," Benzema explained to RMC earlier this month, seemingly a too-nuanced point for Madrid's band of rowdy revilers.

"Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent"

The coach and player relationship is by no means one-way here, either. Benzema's regard for Zidane is well-known and surely a major contributor for the coach's success and the striker's renaissance.

"I have already said it before, but Zidane is like a godfather to me," Benzema commented three years ago.

While's Benzema's resurgence began during the final two months of Santiago Solari's ill-fated reign, there's little doubt Zidane's faith and understanding of the forward ensured he remained influential even after the former Ballon d'Or winner briefly called it quits last year.

Only Sergio Ramos (1,200 minutes) played with greater regularity than Benzema (1,092 minutes) under Julen Lopetegui, while he featured for 2,424 minutes for Solari, 233 more than anyone else. Whether he'd have remained if Ronaldo stayed is another matter, however.

Karim of the crop

There's no greater indication of Benzema's resurgence than the fact only Lionel Messi has scored more LaLiga goals than him in 2019 – the Barcelona star is on 21, the Lyon academy product has 20.

The most recent of those was particularly well timed, as Benzema got the winner in Sunday's 1-0 win at Sevilla – who were unbeaten and had designs on going top of LaLiga – with a smart header after a clever bit of movement.

Previous results had put Zidane under pressure – with the ever-present spectre of Jose Mourinho lurking, waiting for an invitation to return – but Benzema was there to spare his friend.

As such, Benzema heads into Saturday's derby against Atletico Madrid with five goals – his total for 2017-18 – in as many LaLiga outings this term.

In the post-Ronaldo era, Benzema has stepped up to become Madrid's talisman. The only jeers he attracts now are those from fearful fans of Los Blancos' opposition.

First reports of interest from Real Madrid. Now Manchester United…

Mauricio Pochettino's future is dominating headlines amid Tottenham's struggles this season.

A switch to Old Trafford could be on the cards for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED READY TO SPLASH CASH FOR POCH

According to The Sun, Manchester United are willing to make a move for Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham have struggled since reaching the Champions League final last season, and Pochettino is reportedly unhappy in London.

Speculation has linked to Pochettino to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and United, who are prepared to meet his £32million buyout clause, having reportedly considered the Argentinian before appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United star Paul Pogba will make another attempt to leave Old Trafford in January, claims The Sun. Pogba was tipped to depart United during the previous transfer window, however, a proposed move to either Real Madrid or Juventus did not materialise.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo already has an idea for who could replace head coach Thomas Tuchel. After a shock loss to Reims in Ligue 1, Calciomercato says Leonardo only wants former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri if Tuchel leaves the French champions.

- Tuttosport says Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is waiting for Manchester United in January after turning down a move to Qatar. It comes as the Daily Mail reports United have sent scouts to watch Lyon's Moussa Dembele.

Barcelona are continuing to heavily monitor Napoli star and Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Premier League champions Manchester City and Southampton are scouting Hearts left-back Aaron Hickey, reports the Daily Record.

Santiago Solari is keen on taking a job in the Premier League, having been sacked by Real Madrid earlier this year.

Solari's short spell in charge of the LaLiga giants came to an end in March 2019, with Zinedine Zidane returning to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The former midfielder initially thrived as Julen Lopetegui's temporary replacement but was dismissed soon after Madrid's three-year reign as European champions was brought to an end in stunning style by Ajax.

Solari has not been employed as a coach since leaving Madrid but the 42-year-old is ready to return to the dugout, with the Premier League holding a particular appeal.

"I would like to coach in Europe, in a serious project in one of the big leagues," he told BBC Sport.

"I saw the Premier League last year and how it grew so much. It was a fantastic campaign for the English teams. There are so many different cultures as well - you have Spanish coaches, German coaches, English coaches, coaches from all over the world who have made it grow.

"The type of football I like is when the team is the protagonist, offensive football, high tempo and aggressive but in order to achieve that you have to defend high, have fast transitions, and of course talent is a big part of that.

"The statistics in the Premier League are amazing and confirm things are changing. Fifteen years ago there were just three games where one team averaged 70 per cent of possession.

"Three years ago that went up to 30 games. Two years ago it was 60 games and last year there were 67 games in which one team had 70 per cent of possession."

Madrid sacked Solari with the club having little chance of deposing Barcelona as LaLiga champions, but they have stumbled since Zidane's return.

Wednesday's 2-0 home win over Osasuna sent Madrid top of the table despite questions being asked of Zidane, whose side head to city rivals Atletico Madrid next.

Asked if he felt he was treated harshly, Solari replied: "That is a private matter. That's football.

"It was an honour to serve Real Madrid."

Real Madrid could complete a deal for Christian Eriksen in the new year, while Barcelona have big plans of their own.

Eriksen was heavily linked with a move away from Tottenham in the close season, only for no switch to materialise as he entered the final year of his contract.

But that could change at the start of 2020, while Barca are also looking to the Premier League for a big signing.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WANT ERIKSEN SIGNED IN JANUARY

Real Madrid are hoping Eriksen will sign a pre-contract in January, according to the Mirror.

The LaLiga giants want the Denmark international signed before joining for free when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The report says Madrid are also targeting Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino with Zinedine Zidane under some pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Tottenham are worried Eriksen will reject attempts to sell him in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Ernesto Valverde under pressure, Barcelona great Xavi – the Al Sadd boss – sees Manchester City star Raheem Sterling as a perfect signing if he takes over as coach, according to the Daily Mail. Real Madrid are also reportedly interested in the England attacker.

- If Pochettino leaves Tottenham, it appears there are several managers interested in moving to Spurs. The Sun reports former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is waiting in the wings if Pochettino leaves, while the Daily Mail says former Spurs forward Jurgen Klinsmann also wants the job.

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Camp Nou, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has ruled out moving to Qatar, according to Fox Sports. The Croatia international has previously been linked to Paris Saint-Germain.

- Barcelona are pressing for Spain not to take 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati to the upcoming Under-17 World Cup, according to AS. Fati has been a revelation for Barca this season, scoring two goals in six games.

- Linked with a move to MLS side Chicago Fire, Andres Guardado is set to stay at Real Betis. The Mexico international will sign a two-year contract with the LaLiga outfit, according to Estadio Deportivo, with his current deal ending at season's end.

- Claudio Ranieri is set for a return to coaching. The 67-year-old, who left Roma at the end of last season, could take over at struggling Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne, according to Calciomercato.

FIFA medical committee chairman Michel D'Hooghe confirmed the governing body is awaiting a decision on the proposed changes to the concussion rule, including the introduction of a temporary substitute.

FIFPro has led calls for change to the current three-minute assessment and treatment of head injuries after high-profile incidents since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The issue of concussion and head injuries dominated headlines last season – a sickening incident involving Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen in the Champions League semi-finals of particular concern.

Vertonghen required extensive treatment after colliding with the back of Spurs team-mate Toby Alderweireld's head in the first half of a first-leg loss to Ajax in London, where he was initially cleared to return as per the current concussion protocol.

The 32-year-old, however, had to be helped from the field moments later in worrying scenes on the sidelines. While he was cleared of concussion following days of assessment, Vertonghen had been advised to undertake a "brief period of rehabilitation" before returning to training.

It was one of many head-related incidents in 2018-19 amid calls for the introduction of an independent doctor as well as demands for 'temporary concussion substitutions'. Switzerland defender Fabian Schar, Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina, Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes and United Arab Emirates' Fares Juma Al Saadi were cleared to return under the current guidelines.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is now set to decide on changes following talks with FIFA, with the main proposal to increase the current three-minute assessment window for a suspected concussion to a mandatory 10-minute test.

"It's an actual problem," D'Hooghe told Omnisport about concussions and head injuries. "In my medical business, it's the number one problem.

"I had a meeting 14 days ago in Zurich with the members of FIFA's medical committee and also with people from the diverse federations. We came to conclusions that have to be confirmed by the FIFA Council and by the IFAB. 

"We think the doctor must be on the top level like players. That means we will introduce a new chapter in the FIFA medical diploma and we propose that each doctor on the bench in an international match would have proved to have followed this chapter of the medical diploma, so we don't have a doctor who isn't completely aware of the medical situations on the bench.

"Secondly, we introduced the team doctor can be approached not only by the second medical person but a neutral doctor, who has also the repetitive view of the incident, so he can also inform the team doctor and fourth official by saying for instance 'I've seen this player has been unconscious'. That is the second new rule. If a player has been unconscious, even for a short moment, then we want absolutely that he leaves the field.

"Then there's the last point. We have received proposals from FIFPro and some associations, asking why don't you let the doctor do the famous necessary 10 minutes for the SCAT5 examination, and why don't you allow a temporary substitute during this 10 minutes?

"First of all, I can tell you one of the mistakes is that people think this 10 minutes would replace the three minutes. That's absolutely not true. The three minutes aren't there to do a complete examination but just to ask if they player can continue or not. Not more than that.

"That last proposal can have consequences for the refereeing and the rules of the game. That's why our medical committee before deciding asks advice to the IFAB about what they think about the proposal before coming to conclusions that we could eventually take into our next medical commission of FIFA."

FIFA has previously had concerns about managers abusing the temporary substitute rule but D'Hooghe added: "I think that since we leave the decision essentially and exclusively to the team doctor, that in fact the manager has no more role in that.

"Of course I'm not naive, I can think that he will put the team doctor under pressure. But that is why the team doctor, if he has any hesitation, can call the neutral doctor who has the direct images to give his advice also. But for me, the responsibility must always remain in the hands of the team doctor because he knows the player better than anyone."

Reports suggest the proposed changes could be implemented next season but D'Hooghe said: "I think we have to wait for the next meeting of the medical committee to receive the answers. So that means that the first decisions could follow in March 2020."

Rodrygo Goes dismissed comparisons to Ronaldo after marking his Real Madrid debut with a goal against Osasuna on Wednesday.

Rodrygo, 18, became Madrid's quickest debut goalscorer in LaLiga since Brazil great Ronaldo, coming off the bench to seal a 2-0 victory.

The teenager needed just 93 seconds to score, while Ronaldo took 62 for his strike against Deportivo Alaves in 2002.

But Rodrygo had no interest in being compared to Ronaldo, who is regarded as one of the greatest strikers of all-time.

"I don't want any comparisons with Ronaldo being made because he's one of the game's all-time best and one of my country's best," he told reporters.

"As for the goal… I controlled it well and knew that from there on in things would work out. I have to always show that I'm capable of playing here."

Rodrygo's goal sealed Madrid's win after a 20-yard stunner from Vinicius Junior had put them ahead at the Santiago Bernabeu.

After a goal on debut, Rodrygo said it was a dream come true, while also praising coach Zinedine Zidane.

"The gaffer knows what he's doing and he's been talking to me every day to tell me to keep working hard," the former Santos forward said.

"I'm at Real Madrid and I don't care whether I play for Castilla, under Raul, or for the first team. Madrid are always going to have great players, so all of this prestige is to be expected.

"I'm so happy. Zidane transmits a real calmness and a lot of trust and I think that's why things went so well.

"I'm speechless, I've been dreaming of this moment since I joined Real Madrid and running out at the Bernabeu with the fans chanting my name… I'm so happy."

Meanwhile, Vinicius was also delighted to get on the scoresheet, netting for Madrid for the first time since February.

"The players know that I was trying hard and there's nothing better than getting back amongst the goals before a derby," he said, via the club's website. "It's an honour to speak with Roberto Carlos and I'm happy because he congratulated me. I'm very happy to score again at the Bernabeu.

"I'm excited because since my injury it's been difficult, I was finding it hard playing again and I wasn't doing well in games. I wasn't as happy as last season and it's a massive weight off my shoulders. I'm very happy when I'm scoring goals."

A point clear atop the LaLiga table, Madrid face Atletico in the derby on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane was happy for Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Junior after the teenagers helped Real Madrid to a 2-0 win over Osasuna on Wednesday.

Vinicius, 19, opened the scoring with a 20-yard stunner before Rodrygo, 18, marked his debut by netting after coming off the bench in the LaLiga victory.

Zidane praised the duo for their impact as Madrid moved a point clear atop the LaLiga table.

"I'm glad for them. Many times we forget that they are 18 years old [sic]," the Madrid coach told a news conference, via AS.

"We have seen the emotion they had of scoring in the [Santiago] Bernabeu. I like Rodrygo's goal."

Vinicius' goal was his first for Madrid since February as he made the most of his third LaLiga start of the season.

Zidane said the goal was important for the Brazilian, while he also praised 21-year-old Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde.

"I always try to give them confidence because they are very young boys," he said. "We are here for everyone to improve and I'm happy for him [Vinicius] because he needed this goal.

"We will continue now and try to rest well thinking we have a game on Saturday. It has been a good game in everything.

"Fede Valverde has played a great game and I'm glad because he is very young and has an extraordinary future."

Madrid, who face Atletico in the derby on Saturday, have won back-to-back games since their Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain last week.

Asked if Madrid had returned, Zidane said: "We are working and believe in what we do.

"Today, we are happy."

Diego Simeone hailed the importance of Diego Costa after the striker ended his six-month wait for a goal in Atletico Madrid's 2-0 win against Real Mallorca.

Spain international Costa headed home Koke's cross 26 minutes into Wednesday's LaLiga clash at Son Moix and Joao Felix added a second after the break as Atleti ended a three-match winless run in all competitions.

Costa had not netted since a 4-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves in March, but Simeone started him for a fifth straight game and hoped the goal boosts the 30-year-old's confidence.

"We know that strikers live on goals," he said at his post-match news conference. 

"It's very good for him and for the team. I'm happy because he needed the goal. He's one of our most important players in attack and if our forwards play well then it's easier to win."

A 2-0 loss to Real Sociedad and 0-0 draw with Celta Vigo saw Atletico slip down the table, but victory over Mallorca moved them back into second.

"We're improving the balance of the team," Simeone said. "We had a good first half and in the second half Mallorca attacked but we defended well."

It was not all good news for Atletico, however, as substitute Alvaro Morata was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession eight minutes after replacing Costa.

Morata, who clashed with Mallorca skipper Xisco Campos and rowed with the referee to earn his dismissal, will miss Saturday's derby against his former side and LaLiga leaders Real Madrid.

Asked if the sending off was fair, Simeone replied: "I did not see what happened well. 

"For some reason he reacted. I cannot anticipate what happened. I saw that he was arguing with one player and thought they'd both be dismissed."

Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes can become key players at Real Madrid, according to Lucas Vazquez.

Madrid went top of LaLiga after the Brazilian teenagers scored in a 2-0 victory over Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Vinicius curled a fine strike home with the aid of a deflection to end a barren run that stretched back to February, and he went off for Rodrygo to make his first appearance since arriving from Santos in the 71st minute.

Rodrygo took just 93 seconds to open his account for Madrid – the quickest goal for the club by a player making their LaLiga debut since Brazil icon Ronaldo in 2002.

Vazquez has no doubt the pair will go on to become integral members of the team.

"We are very happy for the two signings made by the club," Vazquez told Movistar.

"They will calmly evolve and improve. They have the attributes to be two stars."

On Vinicius' goal, he added: "We are very happy for him. He is an incredible guy who works really hard.

"Today he helped the team with the goal and we are happy."

Zinedine Zidane made eight changes from the team that beat Sevilla 1-0 at the weekend, with Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard among those rested.

"The coach has done the same thing [rotated the line-up] throughout his career, with all the members of the squad. This year will be the same," said Vazquez.

"We are happy with the philosophy and I am happy to take advantage of those minutes. I think the victories come from the humility of the group."

Madrid are back in action against local rivals Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.

Rodrygo Goes became Real Madrid's quickest debut goalscorer in LaLiga since Brazil icon Ronaldo when he wrapped up a 2-0 victory over Osasuna on Wednesday.

Rodrygo, signed by Madrid for a reported €45million in June 2018 but loaned back to Santos for a year, took just 93 seconds to score on his first appearance for Los Blancos.

The Brazilian 18-year-old replaced Vinicius Junior, who had broken the deadlock, in the 71st minute and opened his account by dribbling in from the left and curling a fine finish into the far corner of the net.

It was the fastest a Madrid player had scored on their league debut since Ronaldo, who needed just 62 seconds to strike against Deportivo Alaves in 2002.

Vinicius Junior and debutant Rodrygo Goes earned a much-changed Real Madrid an uninspiring 2-0 win over Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu that sent them top of LaLiga.

Brazilian teenager Vinicius was clearly emotional after finding the net for the first time since February, though a deflection helped his effort beat Ruben Martinez in the 36th minute.

Luka Jovic had what would have been a maiden Madrid goal ruled out by VAR in the second half, but Rodrygo marked his first appearance since arriving from Santos in the close season by opening his account within two minutes of replacing Vinicius.

The victory should ease the pressure on Zinedine Zidane, but Saturday's clash with Atletico Madrid – one point behind Los Blancos in second – will be the real litmus test for the security of his position.

Zidane made eight changes to the team that beat Sevilla 1-0 at the weekend and Sergio Ramos, Casemiro and Toni Kroos were the only players retained.

Madrid took 18 minutes to come to life, with Alvaro Odriozola surging down the right and sending in a low cross that Ruben was fortunate to stop Raul Navas turning into his own net. The rebound fell kindly to Jovic, but the striker blazed over from six yards.

Kroos sent a blistering effort flashing past the post before Vinicius broke the deadlock when his shot from the edge of the box took a touch off Navas and sailed into the top-right corner, the Brazilian almost reduced to tears.

Jovic was unable to punish a defensive lapse from Osasuna within five minutes of the restart and he had a goal correctly disallowed for offside upon review before the hour mark.

Vinicius made way for 18-year-old Brazilian Rodrygo and in the 72nd minute he jinked in from the left, beat Lillo and curled a great finish into the bottom-right corner to consign Osasuna to their first defeat of the season.

 

What does it mean? Zidane keeps stars fresh

By resting his first choice attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, Zidane will be feeling positive ahead of the trip to the Wanda Metropolitano.

Thibaut Courtois, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal were unused substitutes, while James Rodriguez only played eight minutes off the bench.

Rodrygo makes instant impact

Rodrygo was expected to split his time between the first team and Castilla this season, but Zidane may be keen to keep him around after a stellar cameo sealed victory for Madrid.

Jovic fails to step up

With Benzema having scored five goals in his past five LaLiga appearances, chances for Jovic to lead the Madrid attack are going to be limited for the foreseeable future. The Serbian was unable to take the chances that came his way and can expect a swift return to the bench.

What's next?

Zidane's side meet Atletico in El Derbi on Saturday and Osasuna travel to Levante the following day.

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