Zinedine Zidane is in "good spirits" after testing positive for COVID-19 as Real Madrid get ready to take on Deportivo Alaves without their head coach.

The Spanish club confirmed on Friday that Zidane is isolating after contracting coronavirus, meaning he will not be present for Saturday's LaLiga fixture.

Having already lost to Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals of the Supercopa de Espana, Los Blancos suffered a humiliating defeat to third-tier club Alcoyano to exit the Copa del Rey in midweek.

With their title defence also stuttering, the pressure has increased on Zidane, whose absence this weekend means assistant coach David Bettoni will be in charge.

"I spoke to him this morning, he's feeling fine," Bettoni told the media ahead of a trip to an Alaves side that won 2-1 in Madrid last season.

"He's in good spirits. He won't be with us in person but we know he'll be supporting us. The important thing is that everyone knows he'll be there in spirit.

"We're just finalising how we're going to do things."

Zidane insisted he remained calm about his own future in the aftermath of the defeat to Alcoyano, having seen a strong Madrid side let slip a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 after extra time.

Bettoni insists the squad remain united with the focus now shifting back to LaLiga, where they quickly need to make up ground on leaders Atletico Madrid.

"At Real Madrid, every defeat brings criticism, but we have enough experience to know we've got a chance against Alaves to show everyone we're a unit," he said.

"We're all together in this and we're going to do all we can to take the three points. We work hard every day towards just that and we have another chance to show it."

Sergio Ramos did not feature in the cup tie on Wednesday and will once again be absent this weekend, while fellow defender Dani Carvajal is not yet ready to make a return.

"With Sergio Ramos, he is in his recovery process and he won't be with us tomorrow," Bettoni confirmed.

"Dani Carvajal trained a little with us, but he won't be with us either and will be able to train normally from Monday."

Madrid have lost just one of their previous 15 away games in LaLiga but have found goals hard to come by this season, managing 30 in 18 games. That is their second-worst tally at this stage in the past 14 campaigns.

Real Madrid's lost ground on LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid as their five-game winning streak in the competition came grinding to a halt in a 1-1 draw with Elche.

Luka Modric scored his third league goal of the season to give Zinedine Zidane's men the lead after 20 minutes as Madrid attacked freely while leaving some dangerous gaps at the back.

Elche created numerous good chances before equalising from the penalty spot, Fidel converting after Dani Carvajal's blatant foul on Antonio Barragan.

The result put a dampener on the feel-good factor Zidane had managed to generate around his club after bouncing back from a slow start to the season, with Atletico two points clear at the summit having beaten Getafe 1-0 earlier on Wednesday.

Toni Kroos headed narrowly wide from 10 yards in the third minute as Madrid started brightly but it was not long before Thibaut Courtois – making his 100th appearance for the club – had to get down smartly to parry Emiliano Rigoni's fierce drive away from the corner of his net.

Play swung from end to end and Marcelo shook the crossbar with a rasping half-volley from the edge of the Elche box in the 13th minute.

Moments later Modric gave Madrid the lead, sending a header into the top-right corner after Edgar Badia palmed Marco Asensio's thunderous shot onto the crossbar.

Madrid were awarded a penalty only for VAR to show that the ball hit Ivan Marcone's leg and not his hand, and six minutes into the second half Elche won a spot-kick of their own when Carvajal pulled down Antonio Barragan.

Fidel buried the penalty into the bottom-left corner of the net and 10 minutes later Lucas Boye grazed the outside of the post with a low shot from the edge of the Madrid box.

Boye fired high and wide when he burst through the ranks of Madrid defenders again and Carvajal missed a chance to atone for his error when Badia saved his close-range effort on the counter.

The returning Eden Hazard missed the only opening that came his way and Carvajal conceded a stoppage-time free-kick from which Gonzalo Verdu drew a fine save from Courtois, who parried away the last kick of the game to ensure the points were shared.

 

What does it mean? No more room for complacency at Madrid

Victories over Sevilla, Atletico, Athletic Bilbao, Eibar and Granada put a spring back in Zidane's step going into this game, but sloppy defending suggested his players underestimated Elche.

Jorge Almiron's side, who could climb as high as ninth if they win their game in hand, may be winless in their past nine LaLiga games, but this was the first time in nine top-flight meetings with Madrid that they managed to avoid defeat.

Modric makes Madrid tick

The return of Modric restored a fluency to Madrid's attacking play, and he contributed two efforts on goal – including the one that went in – as well as making the third most touches of any player.

Calamitous Carvajal

Aside from conceding the penalty in clumsy fashion, Carvajal struggled to deal with the threat of Fidel and Boye, conceding possession 18 times – more than any other player on the pitch.

What's next?

Elche's first game of 2021 sees them travel to Athletic on Sunday, while Madrid are in action at home against Celta Vigo a day earlier.

Atletico Madrid will not dwell on how Saturday's derby defeat to Real Madrid may have impacted their LaLiga title aspirations, captain Koke says. 

Early leaders Atleti suffered their first league loss of the season, ending a club-record 26-game unbeaten run, as Casemiro's header and a Jan Oblak own goal proved their undoing. 

Koke accepted Madrid deserved victory as Atleti failed to attempt a single shot before the break for the first time in a derby since Opta records began in 2003-04. 

The visitors tested Thibaut Courtois only once in the second half, too, as Madrid closed to within three points of their city rivals at the summit. 

But Atleti, who had won their previous seven league games, still sit top and Koke is confident they can recover. 

"The league season is long and we're still top - we'll go again," said Koke, who attempted (75) and completed (69) the most passes of any Atleti player. 

"They have played better than us tonight, especially in the first half, and there are small margins that make the difference, but we continue and go again.  

"We almost drew the game. We're not thinking about who is going to win the league but just looking forward to the Copa del Rey coming up this week."

For Madrid, it was a third win and third clean sheet in succession - they saw off Sevilla before advancing in the Champions League in midweek - but Dani Carvajal, whose strike led to Oblak's own goal, agreed with Koke's assessment of the title race. 

"It has been a very difficult week for us," he said. "We played tonight against a tough Atletico side. We'll keep going - there are lots of games. 

"We're doing well, it is hard to know how the season will play out. It's not your typical season with injuries and things like that. 

"We were well on top tonight, pressed high, and they had two chances. We're still in a very early stage of the season, but it was important to win tonight and we have Athletic Bilbao during the week." 

The right-back, who celebrated the second goal by sucking his thumb and blowing kisses to the cameras, added: "I had a new baby this week and there was no better way to celebrate the birth than the way I did."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is adamant his team's inconsistency is not down to an attitude problem in the squad.

Defending LaLiga champions Madrid have been wildly erratic in 2020-21, producing some under-par performances despite also celebrating some commendable wins such as the 3-1 Clasico victory and Wednesday's Champions League triumph at Inter.

Among their more disappointing results have been home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, plus the 4-1 thrashing by Valencia prior to the international break.

They head into Saturday's clash with Deportivo Alaves on the back of a 1-1 draw at Villarreal in their previous league outing, meaning another failure to win will see them drop points in three successive LaLiga games.

Madrid have already conceded 10 goals from their first nine matches, the joint-most at this stage in 12 seasons, but Zidane is refusing to put it down to the team's collective mentality.

"It is not an attitude problem because we always want to give everything," he told reporters.

"You asked me so I have to answer, but this is football, there are a lot of factors at play in a game and sometimes you can't understand it.

"The only thing we know is that, if we do things together, we are very difficult to beat but being consistent in football is the most difficult thing to achieve and we try to work on it every day, concentrating and working on all that we can.

"We have little time to prepare, but in the end that's what we want, to do well."

It has been suggested that Madrid are nearing the end of an era, with many players approaching the end of their careers – Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema are already well into their 30s.

But Zidane dismissed this notion and made no pledge to bring in reinforcements in January.

"No, it's not the end of an era here. You always have to fight, be concentrated – we never stop in that sense," he added.

"There will always be changes in a squad from time to time, but the players want to compete and now we have this squad. Until when, I don't know, but we have to do it until the end of the season with the squad I have, and we don't have to change anything."

Zidane also confirmed Dani Carvajal is set for another period on the sidelines due to an adductor injury, while Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos remain absent for the time being.

"Dani has something and we are going to do the examination now. It seemed like nothing but now it does – we'll examine him but I don't know how long he'll be out, I'm not a doctor. He has a niggle, that much is true," Zidane said.

"Karim's injury was bigger than it seemed – we have a lot of games, training, at the end a player has to be physically alright to play.

"Sergio the same – we won't rush him. The feeling with him is good, so we'll see when he returns to the team, but for the moment he is out."

Real Madrid's players are fully behind Zinedine Zidane and will fight for their head coach "until the death", according to full-back Dani Carvajal.

Zidane is once again under pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu with his side fourth in LaLiga following Sunday's humbling 4-1 defeat to Valencia.

Madrid are also third in their Champions League group at the midway stage after losing to Shakhtar Donetsk and drawing with Borussia Monchengladbach before beating Inter.

Reports from Spain this week suggest president Florentino Perez has doubts over Zidane's ability to turn the club's fortunes around, with replacements already being lined up.

However, Carvajal has given his full backing to the Frenchman and insists it is just a matter of time before Madrid find the type of form that saw them lift the league title last season.

"We are with the coach until the death," he told Marca. "With the club, the team-mates next to us and the philosophy of the coach, we are all together, going in the same direction.

"That is what he has done during all the years he has been here."

He added: "I think the team is reaching its highest level of the season. We are all in a good physical shape and I hope that we will have two, three good months.

"I understand these last two weeks have been difficult. But today things are much more even, with all teams working a lot harder physically.

"But we are Real Madrid. We have a very good squad and you shouldn't doubt us because we will fight for anything. In the month of March we will be alive in all competitions."

Despite a sluggish start to 2020-21, Carvajal is adamant Madrid have a strong enough to squad to win a clean sweep of honours this season.

"Our aim is clear. We are going to fight for the three trophies, plus the [Spanish] Super Cup that is coming up in January. We will go for it all," he said.

"I am optimistic about what I see and what I feel. I think the team is very committed. All the players and all the coaches feel very supported by each other."

Carvajal concedes the pressure to win everything can magnify bad results like the loss at Valencia – the first time Madrid have shipped four goals in a LaLiga game under Zidane.

"Whoever has been here for a few years gets used to it," he said. "In the end you can beat Inter in a highly contested match and lose away to a good rival in Valencia.

"We didn't have our day, but you can't win every game and it seems like we're in a crisis and they put us all in the air. 

"You have to get a little used to these ups and downs, these ups and downs of feelings, criticism and flattery, but try to keep a line and seek to achieve the goal of regularity."

Carvajal has featured just three times this season because of a knee ligament injury but is hopeful of returning ahead of schedule for the trip to Villarreal later this month.

"I'm doing much better now – my entire internal ligament broke," he said. "The estimated time of discharge was ten weeks. This Friday will be six weeks injured. 

"I'm doing quite well, I'm touching the ball. I'm doing more intense things and hopefully now after the international break I can be available for the coach."

Erling Haaland is reportedly being lined up as a target for Real Madrid in 2022, while Manchester United are eyeing Mauricio Pochettino.

Haaland, 20, is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in Europe as he continues to star for Borussia Dortmund.

Madrid have plans for the Norway international.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE HAALAND IN 2022

Real Madrid are convinced Dortmund star Haaland is their man in 2022, according to AS.

Haaland has scored 10 goals in 10 games in all competitions for Dortmund this season.

The former Salzburg talent, Mino Raiola - his agent - and Dortmund reportedly have an agreement that a transfer away from BVB will be facilitated in 2022, though there is not thought to be a specific fee in mind yet.

Haaland has begun 2020-21 in fine form having netted five goals in as many Bundesliga games, picking up where he left off last term as he scored 13 in 15 league matches for Dortmund.

While early in the campaign, Haaland's shot conversion rate – excluding blocks – in the league this season (31.3 per cent) is lower than last term (52), but his big chance conversion is slightly higher (from 62.5 per cent to 66.7).

Seemingly flowing with confidence from last season, Haaland is averaging more shots in 2020-21 as well. Per 90 minutes, the striker is attempting 3.7 attempts from inside the box (including blocks) compared to 2.8 in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under pressure, Manchester United have approached former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to potentially become manager, according to the Manchester Evening News. United are 15th in the Premier League ahead of visiting Everton on Saturday.

- In good news for Barcelona, Sport reports goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is completely committed to the Spanish giants amid links to Bayern Munich. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, says Barca could sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon star Memphis Depay for free next year, allowing them to potentially negotiate lower fees in January.

- Amid expectations he will leave Bayern Munich, David Alaba has been offered to Real Madrid, according to Marca. The defender is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying with Madrid – full-back Dani Carvajal is close to agreeing to a new contract until 2024, according to Marca.

- While he is contracted at Liverpool until 2023, Fabinho could be set for a renewal. Fabrizio Romano reports the midfielder is in talks to extend his deal through to 2025.

Reported Real Madrid target Houssem Aouar has the talent to one day play at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Zinedine Zidane has little interest speculating about the final days of the transfer window.

Lyon midfielder Aouar, who starred in their run to last season's Champions League semi-finals, has been linked with both Madrid and Arsenal.

The window closes on Monday, though, and Zidane - while acknowledging Aouar's talent - is looking forward to having the distraction of out the way.

"I don't know what information you have," Zidane responded at a news conference ahead of Madrid's trip to Levante. "I have no doubt about this player, he is a great player.

"Maybe one day he could play for Madrid, but today we have this squad and my concern is the players I have now. As of October 5, there will be no such questions."

Madrid are yet to make a single signing in this window, yet the focus in recent days has been on a man they let go.

Achraf Hakimi was allowed to join Inter after an impressive loan with Borussia Dortmund and rival right-backs Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola have both gone down injured in the past two days.

Carvajal has damaged the medial collateral ligament in his right knee and could reportedly face two months out, while back-up Odriozola then sustained a calf issue.

Zidane is now without a recognised option on that side of the defence but would not reflect differently on Hakimi's departure.

"These are things that can happen in a squad," he explained. "We have to count on other players. We can't look for excuses."

The pair join winger Eden Hazard on the injury list, Madrid's number seven suffering a muscle injury late last month as he sought to return to fitness after a tough first season in Spain.

Zidane is not concerned Hazard's repeated problems will mean he does not come back the same player, though.

"I am positive about everything, including Hazard," the coach said. "Plus this was a muscle injury from having worked hard to return.

"I don't like [injures], because I like having everyone available, but they are things that can happen. It just bothers me that players can't play."

Luis Enrique is optimistic Adama Traore will finally make his Spain debut despite a call-up from Mali.

Wolves winger Traore is eligible to represent either nation and has been included in both squads for the upcoming international break.

It is the third time Spain have selected the former Barcelona man, with injury and coronavirus preventing a bow that would cap-tie him until now.

But Luis Enrique remains confident Traore will link up with his squad and belatedly debut.

"It's the third time, so I'll touch wood," he told a news conference after announcing his squad, which included Levante midfielder Jose Campana for the first time.

"It's the player who has to decide. What I know is that I have spoken with him and he wants to play for Spain."

The Spain coach was dealt a blow on Friday, however, as Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal suffered a ligament injury in his right knee.

Carvajal will reportedly be missing for two months after sustaining the issue in training.

"It's unpleasant for him," Luis Enrique said. "He's in good hands.

"I'll speak with my staff, but we're quite clear about who will replace him."

Dani Carvajal has sustained a ligament injury in his right knee, Real Madrid have confirmed.

The Spain international has featured in each of the champions' first three LaLiga matches this season.

Carvajal played the full 90 minutes in a draw at Real Sociedad and a win at Real Betis, before helping turn the home clash with Real Valladolid in Madrid's favour as a second-half substitute.

But the 28-year-old is now facing a spell on the sidelines and, although his club have not announced a timescale for his ailment, reports suggest he could be out for two months.

"Following tests carried out on Dani Carvajal by the Real Madrid medical services, he has been diagnosed with an injury to his medial collateral ligament in his right knee," a statement read.

"His recovery will continue to be assessed."

Carvajal, who returned to Madrid from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013, has won four Champions Leagues with Los Blancos.

Real Madrid full-back Dani Carvajal said Los Blancos are on course to win the LaLiga title following their 1-0 victory against Getafe.

Madrid moved four points clear of bitter rivals Barcelona atop the table thanks to Thursday's hard-fought win at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium in the Spanish capital.

Sergio Ramos converted a 79th-minute penalty as Madrid claimed their sixth successive victory since the season resumed following the coronavirus crisis.

Madrid have not won LaLiga since 2016-17 but Zinedine Zidane's men are on track to end Barca's dominance with five games remaining.

"It is clear that with four points [advantage] we depend on ourselves to win this league. We are on course," Carvajal, who earned Madrid's penalty after he was upended by Getafe's Mathias Olivera, said post-match.

"Getafe played a very well-rounded game. We had to take advantage of Barcelona's slip, today was a final.

"Getafe made it tough. We had to be serious, showing that we are a unit.

"I was able to complete a one-on-one and win the penalty.

"On Sunday we have a very tough battle."

Madrid will travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday before stuttering Barca visit Villarreal later that day.

FIFA 20 players building their Ultimate Team squads around Spaniards will be intrigued by the latest Team of the Week, with four selected in a starting XI that also includes Philippe Coutinho.

Dani Carvajal impressed in El Clasico at the weekend, with the Real Madrid right-back slotting into a defence in front of Crystal Palace's Spanish goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

Marcos Alonso is in the team after returning to form with Chelsea, the full-back scoring both goals as the Blues drew with Bournemouth.

The other Spaniard in the starting line-up is Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez, while Ismaila Sarr takes a place on the bench after he stole the show in Watford's shock 3-0 win over Liverpool, whose 44-match unbeaten run in the Premier League ended abruptly at Vicarage Road.

Below, we have the entire squad.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace) – 82

RB: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid) – 87

CB: Kostas Manolas (Roma) – 86

LB: Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 84

RM: Calvin Stengs (AZ) – 84

CM: Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid) – 87

LWB: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) – 86

LW: Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich) – 89

LM: Fabian Orellana (Eibar) – 84

ST: Duvan Zapata (Atalanta) – 86

ST: Dario Benedetto (Marseille) – 84

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Predrag Rajkovic (Reims) – 79

LB: Marcal (Lyon) – 81

RM: Ismaila Sarr (Watford) – 82

CM: Teji Savanier (Montpellier) – 82

CF: Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres) – 83

ST: Nikola Kalinic (Roma) – 82

ST: Dieumerci Mbokani (Antwerp) – 82

RESERVES

RB: Matias Rodriguez (Deportes Nunoa) – 78

LM: Danny Blum (Bochum) – 78

ST: Klauss (LASK) – 77

GK: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs) – 75

LF: Max Burgess (Western United) – 73

Lucas Vazquez insists he never doubted he is good enough to represent Real Madrid and is not concerned about the criticism he has received.

The Spain international rifled home the second goal in Wednesday's routine 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza as Madrid cruised into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Many have questioned Vazquez's role in the team, but he was praised by boss Zinedine Zidane for his display against Zaragoza and the winger is glad to have proved himself.

Asked how he reacts to the criticism directed his way, the 28-year-old told reporters: "I isolate myself from it. I'm a Madrid player and I know what I stand for.

"What you can't do is doubt yourself."

Madrid have gone 20 games without defeat in all competitions since losing 2-0 to Real Mallorca on October 19 and they lead the way by three points at the top of LaLiga.

Next up is a home match with city rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday and Vazquez said: "The game in Mallorca was a turning point. It's brought good performances and good results.

"Playing [Atletico] is always difficult. They're not going to make things easy for us."

Raphael Varane, Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema were also on target at the Estadio La Romareda as Madrid made it seven wins in a row.

Zidane's men remain on course for three more trophies, having already won the Supercopa de Espana earlier this month, and defender Dani Carvajal has set his sights on a clean sweep.

"We have three matches left [in the Copa] to be in the final and we are going for it," he said.

"We will take it step by step. On Saturday there's an important match - we want to keep this going. It's a special match."

Dani Carvajal would like Kylian Mbappe to leave Paris Saint-Germain for Real Madrid as he believes the world's best players should be at the Santiago Bernabeu.

France star Mbappe continues to be linked with a future move to Madrid and has reportedly stalled on the idea of a new PSG contract in order to make a transfer more likely.

Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has repeatedly expressed his admiration for the 20-year-old forward, whose relationship with PSG boss Thomas Tuchel has shown signs of strain lately, not least when Mbappe ignored him after being substituted against Montpellier last weekend.

Carvajal would certainly not be against Mbappe moving to the Spanish capital, telling reporters on Thursday: "What we've seen is obvious. He's one of the greats and it would be good [to play with him] because the best have to be here."

Madrid defender Carvajal was speaking ahead of a difficult week for Madrid, who face Valencia at Mestalla on Sunday before next Wednesday's Clasico with Barcelona at Camp Nou.

That fixture was due to take place in October but was rearranged after concern about political unrest in Catalonia.

Security issues remain a concern ahead of the game, while it is expected that a large banner encouraging dialogue over the issue of Catalan independence will be displayed by a protest group in the stands.

Carvajal is keen for authorities to ensure the match goes ahead safely, but he insists he is only concerned with getting three points.

"We're calm. We want it to be played with the maximum guarantees of security. We don't know if it was a mistake to rearrange it," said the full-back.

"I want to go to Camp Nou and win. The rest doesn't bother me.

"It's a very important, beautiful week for us and we're going to try to make it three [wins] from three.

"We have fewer hours of rest than Barcelona and after a demanding game like at Mestalla, it can show in your legs."

Dani Carval was the unlikely match-winner for Real Madrid as a gritty 2-1 victory at Deportivo Alaves took them top of LaLiga on Saturday.

The right-back prodded home at the end of a chaotic 17-minute period at a sodden Mendizorroza that saw the two sides share three second-half goals.

Sergio Ramos scored first, nodding in Toni Kroos' free-kick, then turned villain with a foul on Joselu that allowed Lucas Perez to restore parity from the spot.

Madrid rose to the challenge and restored their advantage three minutes after the equaliser to go three points clear of Barcelona, who visit Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Eden Hazard's ankle injury opened the door for Gareth Bale to make his first start since October 5 and the winger almost made an early contribution, his deflected header hitting the post in the 10th minute.

Eder Militao was involved in two Alaves penalty shouts either side of that chance, the first resulting in Aleix Vidal being booked for simulation when there appeared to be a slight trip.

The rain intensified after an error-strewn first half and, in the 52nd minute, Madrid raised their level.

Kroos curled an inviting free-kick into the box and Ramos glanced it beyond goalkeeper Pacheco for his fifth goal of the season in all competitions.

It took just 13 minutes for the centre-back to undo his good work.

Ramos raised a hand to Joselu's face in the box and Perez sent Alphonse Areola, chosen ahead of Thibaut Courtois, the wrong way from the resultant spot-kick.

Madrid were tasked with responding and Carvajal delivered the decisive goal in quick fashion, prodding home the winner at point-blank range after Pacheco blocked an Isco header on the line.

Alaves pressed hard for a second leveller but desperate goal-line interventions from Marcelo and Areola in the closing stages denied both Perez and Manu Garcia, before Federico Valverde missed a clear chance for a third in the dying seconds.

Dani Carvajal applauded Rodrygo Goes for his natural confidence after the 18-year-old scored a hat-trick in Real Madrid's 6-0 demolition of Galatasaray on Wednesday.

Rodrygo only made his first start for the club on October 22 in Madrid's previous meeting with the Turkish champions, but he has quickly shown he is not out of place in Los Blancos' team.

His treble at the Santiago Bernabeu took him to five goals in six appearances for the club, while he also set up the first of Karim Benzema's brace.

Coach Zinedine Zidane claimed he has not been surprised by Rodrygo's impact and Carvajal was overjoyed for the winger.

"You all saw how the boy always wants the ball, tries to dribble and passes, arrives in the box," Carvajal told reporters.

"He has an innate self-confidence, so he is fantastic. His match was really good, so we have to congratulate him."

Toni Kroos was rather more cautious about lavishing praise on the teenager, though he did commend his approach in possession.

"I do not like speaking about a player just because he has scored three goals. He did well in the past few games," Kroos said.

"He is 18 years old but is already helpful for us. Given his age, he plays very well, making it easy, not losing the ball, which is important for our game. It is good to have another scorer, as we need goals."

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