Marcelo will miss Real Madrid's trip to Real Betis after a back injury stopped him from travelling for Saturday's LaLiga fixture.

The Brazil international was initially named in Zinedine Zidane's 22-man squad for the game but was forced to withdraw at the last minute.

In a short statement on the club's website, Madrid revealed Marcelo would not be involved after "feeling discomfort in his back", meaning he has remained in the Spanish capital.

The 32-year-old defender was an unused substitute for the reigning champions' opening outing of the new campaign, watching on from the bench as Zidane's side drew 0-0 at Real Sociedad.

Having played the full game at the Reale Arena last weekend, Ferland Mendy seems set to continue on the left side of Madrid's defence against Betis.

As well as Marcelo, Madrid are also missing Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard. However, Isco and Lucas Vazquez could feature in Seville after recovering from injuries.

Will Manchester City finally land Kalidou Koulibaly?

Pep Guardiola's City want defensive reinforcements and Napoli centre-back Koulibaly is reportedly at the top of the list.

If they are unsuccessful, Sevilla's Jules Kounde is next on the list.

 

TOP STORY – CITY NOT GIVING UP KOULIBALY

Manchester City are still in talks with Napoli to sign star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, who has also been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

However, City are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli and Sevilla's Jules Kounde is the "backup option" but a bid has already been turned down.

 

ROUND-UP

- Romano says Wolves will complete the signing of Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo on Monday. It comes as Barca eye Ajax defender Sergino Dest or Real Betis' Emerson to replace Semedo. Norwich City's Max Aarons has also been linked.

Milan have made Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic their number one defensive target ahead of Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer, reports the Daily Record.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are eyeing Real Madrid full-back Marcelo. The Brazilian has been repeatedly linked with a Cristiano Ronaldo reunion in Turin.

- The Telegraph says PSG are interested in Tottenham's Dele Alli. Out of favour under Jose Mourinho, Spurs are reportedly targeting Manchester United's Jesse Lingard as a replacement.

Roma remain interested in Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik but Madrid outcast Luka Jovic has emerged as 'Plan B', according to Calciomercato.

Leeds United are out of the race to sign Dinamo Zagreb sensation Josko Gvardiol, reports Romano. Wanted by Marcelo Bielsa, the Croatian teenager is now set for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig.

Marcelo has urged others to use their platforms to instigate change after taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following his goal against Eibar.

After scoring his team's third goal in Madrid's 3-1 win on Sunday, left-back Marcelo dropped to his knee and raised his right fist.

The idea of taking a knee was adopted by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when the NFL player protested racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.

Kneeling has been prevalent at the protests that have followed the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin players all took a knee prior to their Bundesliga fixture earlier this month, a week after Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram knelt following his goal against Union Berlin.

LaLiga returned for the first time since the coronavirus-enforced break last week and, while revealing his happiness at being back playing, Marcelo also used lyrics from 2Pac's song 'Changes' when addressing his celebration.

"Happy to be back with Real Madrid!" Marcelo wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of him kneeling.

"Happy to have scored a goal!

"But even happier to see all the CHANGES in the world! Now it's time. We must use the power we have and start making real CHANGES."

Marcelo then quoted 2Pac: "We can never go nowhere unless we share with each other. We gotta start makin' changes.

"Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers. And that's how it's supposed to be...

"I'd love to go back to when we played as kids but things change, and that's the way it is..."

Real Madrid star Marcelo said he cannot wait for the LaLiga season to resume following the coronavirus pandemic.

LaLiga was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis but the league will return with the derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11.

On Friday, Spain's Higher Council of Sport (CSD) said it had agreed the resumption plans with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga.

The CSD issued a statement that confirmed plans for the season to end on July 18-19.

Madrid were two points behind defending champions and leaders Barcelona with 11 rounds remaining.

"We'd never gone so long without being able to train out on the pitch and our desire to play football has been growing ever since we stopped," Brazilian full-back Marcelo told Real Madrid TV. "Now we're close to getting going again and we can't wait.

"It's been different to what we're used to. We have to take the positives from it and now we're used to the routine; it's not like it used to be but everything's good. 

"We're all healthy, the training sessions have been fantastic in recovering our rhythm. Having not touched a ball for so long, when you go back out on the pitch you've lost your touch a bit, but now we just can't wait to start playing games."

 

Real Madrid full-back Marcelo insisted he did not want to leave the LaLiga giants amid links with Juventus.

The Brazilian has been linked with a move away from Madrid, where he has enjoyed a successful stay since arriving from Fluminense in 2007.

But Marcelo has no desire to leave the Santiago Bernabeu, and he also feels Madrid want him to stay.

"I don't want to leave and I don't think Madrid would let me anyway," he told Fabio Cannavaro during an Instagram Live chat on Friday.

"I'm really happy here. Since I came here with my family, it's been incredible.

"I don't really know if it's true that Juve wanted to sign me to be honest."

Marcelo has continued to be linked to Juventus, the club his former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo joined in 2018.

The 31-year-old noted the reaction from the Serie A club's fans to the rumours was positive.

"A couple of years ago I heard that I'd signed for Juve, that I'd already pulled on the Juve shirt and that I couldn't live without Cristiano," Marcelo said.

"People invent a lot of things. It was all fine with me, as I saw that some Juve fans quite liked the idea of me joining."

Real Madrid have seemingly set their sights on Eduardo Camavinga, and it may be one of several changes at the LaLiga club.

Camavinga, 17, has been linked to several European giants after impressing for Rennes.

The teenage midfielder is a target for Madrid, who could be set for sweeping changes in the close season.

 

TOP STORY – CAMAVINGA THE PREFERENCE FOR REAL MADRID

Camavinga is the preference for Real Madrid as it is likely to prove tough to land Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, according to Marca.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is also keen to avoid becoming too reliant on Casemiro, the report says.

Camavinga has made 25 Ligue 1 appearances for Rennes this season, including 24 starts.

ROUND-UP

- It may be just one of several changes at Real Madrid. AS reports there must be exits if players are to come in, with James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez and Mariano Diaz potentially leaving. The futures of Nacho Fernandez, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Brahim Diaz are also uncertain.

- Staying at Real Madrid and AS reports the coronavirus pandemic may impact what the club do with Martin Odegaard. The Norway international was expected to spend another season on loan at Real Sociedad but could return ahead of the next campaign as clubs become stricter with their finances.

- Diego Costa has scored just twice in 19 games for Atletico Madrid this season and could be set for a move. Sport reports Roma are interested in the 31-year-old forward.

- Achraf Hakimi appears likely to return to Real Madrid from his loan at Borussia Dortmund. However, the Mirror reports Chelsea have enquired about the defender.

- After impressing with Wolves in the Premier League, Raul Jimenez is attracting interest. Sport reports the Mexico forward could return to LaLiga, with Real Madrid and former club Atletico Madrid interested.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Pedro is poised to leave Chelsea. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Lazio are interested in the attacker.

Juventus may be able to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin, but it could cost them a star.

Pogba, 27, has been linked with a move away from Manchester United, having returned to Old Trafford in 2016.

But the Serie A champions could be ready to give up a leading player in their bid to bring the France international back.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA TO JUVENTUS, DYBALA OR PJANIC TO MAN UTD

Manchester United midfielder Pogba could return to Juventus for money plus Paulo Dybala or Miralem Pjanic, according to Tuttosport.

Dybala almost headed to Old Trafford during the close season but is reportedly close to signing a contract extension with Juventus.

Pjanic, meanwhile, has made 32 appearances in all competitions this season, having arrived at Juve from domestic rivals Roma in 2016.

 

ROUND-UP

- The talk around Lautaro Martinez possibly leaving Inter to join Barcelona continues. Sport reports Barca are advancing in their bid to convince Martinez, with their project and potentially playing with Lionel Messi at club level their key points.

- With his Real Madrid future uncertain, Marcelo could be set for a move. Juventus are again interested in the left-back, according to Marca.

- Staying at the Santiago Bernabeu - Lucas Vazquez could also be heading for a Real Madrid exit. AS reports there have been no discussions over a potential contract extension with the forward, whose deal expires next year.

- Martin Braithwaite only arrived at Barcelona in February, but the LaLiga giants are already considering their options. Sport says Barca will not sell Braithwaite for less than €18million, which is what they paid to land the forward. Everton and West Ham are reportedly interested in the Denmark international.

- Arsenal are seemingly considering a move for Nabil Fekir again. The Premier League club were linked with the forward last year, but the Daily Star reports the Real Betis man is back on their radar as a potential replacement for Dani Ceballos, whose loan from Real Madrid ends at the conclusion of the season.

Roberto Carlos revealed he would have liked Brazil star Neymar at Real Madrid a "long time ago".

Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in 2017, but has been linked with a return to Camp Nou and a possible blockbuster switch to Madrid.

Carlos, a Madrid and Brazil great, said he wanted Neymar at the Santiago Bernabeu long ago.

"If it were up to me, [Neymar] would already be here a long time ago, but life is not how one would like it," Carlos told Fox Sports Radio.

"These great players always have to play for the best clubs in the world. Real Madrid today is a reference for any player.

"Do you want to win the Champions League? Come to Real Madrid."

Carlos won four LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues with Madrid, while he was also a 2002 World Cup winner with Brazil.

Madrid's current left-back, Marcelo, has been out of favour with Brazil, with his last international appearance coming at the 2018 World Cup.

Carlos hopes the 31-year-old can eventually make a return for the national team.

"Everyone deserves a new opportunity and I think Marcelo is growing again to be the Marcelo I saw play, with joy, who does things that only he can do on the field," he said.

"I hope he returns to the national team and disputes the position with Filipe [Luis], Alex Sandro and Renan Lodi."

Real Madrid could be without Thibaut Courtois and Marcelo for the second leg of their Champions League tie with Manchester City.

The Spanish club revealed on Tuesday that goalkeeper Courtois has an injury to his left adductor muscle, while left-back Marcelo is dealing with a left hamstring issue.

Madrid - who host Eibar on Friday before the trip to the Etihad Stadium next Tuesday - offered no indication as to how long the duo will be out.

Both played in Sunday's 2-1 LaLiga defeat away to Real Betis, though Marcelo was replaced by Ferland Mendy before the hour mark.

Zinedine Zidane's side have won just once in their last five outings in all competitions. 

They took the lead against last-16 opponents City at the Santiago Bernabeu on February 26, Vinicius Junior opening the scoring after 60 minutes.

However, Gabriel Jesus equalised before a Kevin De Bruyne penalty sealed a crucial away victory for Pep Guardiola's side.

Real Madrid missed the opportunity to return to the top of the table in LaLiga as they fell to a late 2-1 defeat at Real Betis on Sunday.

Zinedine Zidane's side had climbed to the summit with their Clasico defeat of Barcelona last week, but they slipped back below their bitter rivals after Quique Setien's men triumphed on Saturday and could not reclaim first place following a below-par display in Seville.

Indeed, Madrid would have been fortunate to emerge with even a point, as Betis enjoyed the better of the contest and led through Sidnei, only for the defender to swiftly concede a penalty at the other end that Karim Benzema scored.

Former Barca winger Cristian Tello netted with eight minutes remaining, though, and Los Blancos' have now won just once – against the Blaugrana – in their past five matches in all competitions, with Betis picking up their first win in seven top-flight games. 

Lionel Messi is set to become the player with the most appearances in El Clasico for Barcelona after being named in the starting line-up to take on Real Madrid on Sunday.

The Argentina superstar will edge past Xavi as he racks up his 43rd outing in the biggest domestic fixture in world football at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Messi is the fixture's leading goalscorer, having netted 26 times against Barca's great rivals.

Barca head into the match, Quique Setien's first Clasico at the helm, two points ahead of their rivals at the top of LaLiga.

The visitors boast a seven-match unbeaten run against Madrid in top-flight meetings, with the Camp Nou showdown in December having finished goalless.

While Barcelona's only change from the side that drew 1-1 with Napoli on Tuesday saw Arthur take Ivan Rakitic's place in midfield, Zinedine Zidane made two adjustments to the Madrid team that lost 2-1 to Manchester City in midweek.

Ferland Mendy and Luka Modric dropped to the bench as Marcelo returned at left back and Toni Kroos started in midfield, while Gareth Bale had to settle for a place among the substitutes.

Zinedine Zidane moved to defend Marcelo and Gareth Bale after Real Madrid's "painful" 2-2 draw at home to Celta Vigo.

Marcelo was a surprise starter ahead of Ferland Mendy for Sunday's contest at Santiago Bernabeu where Santi Mina earned the visitors an 85th-minute equaliser after Toni Kroos' strike and a Sergio Ramos penalty had cancelled out Fedor Smolov's opener.

The Brazil full-back, a mainstay of Madrid's line-up for over a decade, has faced criticism at times this season, particularly over his performances defensively, but head coach Zidane had no issues with Marcelo's showing.

"I don't think he makes us weaker defensively, because he was good at the back, but you always bring out stats," Zidane said.

"I'm happy with everyone for how they play and when they play."

Bale was mainly ineffective having been selected to start in a front three alongside Karim Benzema and the returning Eden Hazard.

Zidane, though, said the focus is on how the team as a collective can improve after they missed the chance to win a sixth straight LaLiga match.

"I think Bale played a good game and we have to keep thinking that there's a long way to go and we have to think about what we all do on the pitch to improve it," Zidane added.

On how he felt after conceding the late equaliser, the Frenchman said: "Painful to be brutally honest. I thought the team gave a very big effort to try to win the game. 

"After taking the lead and five minutes towards the end conceding the draw, it's not very good. 

"But I'm very pleased with my team, it wasn't easy for us. A first half where we conceded a goal after six minutes and then they closed themselves at the back, very defensively solid.

"The gap in the first half, we were trying to cross the ball too much, but in the second half we did it much better."

One positive for Madrid was the return of Belgium forward Hazard, who has been absent since November with an ankle injury.

Zidane was encouraged by what he saw from the former Chelsea star.

"I'm very happy to have him back and with the 70 minutes he played," Zidane said. 

"I think we know the player he is, and after three months out it wouldn't be easy for him to come back in and play a great game, but I'm very happy with his game and to have him back."

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refused to spill the secrets of the dressing room but admitted his team are desperate to make up for their Copa del Rey exit.

A 4-3 defeat to Real Sociedad saw Madrid slump at the quarter-final stage on Thursday, with the fact it came in front of their own fans at the Santiago Bernabeu making the exit all the more uncomfortable.

The chance to quickly put the loss to the back of their minds arrives in Pamplona on Sunday when LaLiga's leaders tackle Osasuna.

When asked about the mood in the Madrid camp, Zidane, whose team were unbeaten in 21 games before their cup blow, was giving little away.

"What goes on in the locker room stays there," he said. "We've analysed the game. We're not happy with the outcome, but luckily there's another game just three days later and now we're focusing on that game.

"It's not the end of the world. There's been lots of good work until now."

Madrid began the weekend three points ahead of bitter rivals Barcelona, who suffered their own cup misery at the hands of Athletic Bilbao.

Mid-table Osasuna have been blighted by draws this season, with 10 of their 22 matches ending level, but Madrid got the better of them in September when goals from Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes secured a 2-0 home victory.

"The last 20, 21 games, I've been saying we've yet to win anything," Zidane said. "What we have to do is fight, battle away until the end of the season.

"We've got a game on Sunday and another game after that, and it's going to be non-stop. The players have plenty of self-belief.

"I was a player. I know what it's like to be in their shoes. It's not easy to be playing every three days and to play your best football in each and every game.

"We played against a team who played very well, never stopped running. No team had run more against us this season.

"We'll get more games like this coming up, no doubt. I'm always going to defend my players."

Zidane made a host of changes for the cup clash but looks set to restore his strongest available side for the Osasuna game.

"There's going to be movement, rotation. I have my way of doing things and I can make mistakes," he said, "But I'm confident in my players and we have to praise Real Sociedad for how they played.

"I have decisions I need to make and I'm the man responsible here and that won't change."

Zidane added: "We know what game to expect on Sunday. It's another tough game and I always say the same but it's a tough team, a tough ground and they've been doing things very well this season.

"We know what kind of game and opponents we're going to face. It's going to be a tough 90 minutes and we have to give our all. It's another final for us."

Teenage Real Madrid forward Rodrygo Goes has been included in Brazil's squad for the first time ahead of next month's friendlies with Argentina and South Korea.

The 18-year-old made his first competitive start for Madrid in Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League win against Galatasaray, having also made a couple of substitute appearances in LaLiga this season.

Rodrygo is joined in Tite's 23-man squad by fellow newcomer Douglas Luiz, who has performed well in the Premier League since joining Aston Villa from Manchester City in July.

There is no place for fellow Madrid players Vinicius Junior and Marcelo, while injured Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar also misses out, but Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson returns to the squad after recovering from a calf injury.

Brazil take on South American rivals Argentina in Saudi Arabia in three weeks and then travel to Abu Dhabi for a friendly with South Korea.

The Copa America holders enter the match without a win in their past four outings - all friendlies - and Tite is looking for an improvement as preparations continue for next year's World Cup qualifiers.

"I was not satisfied with our performances and results," he said at a news conference on Friday.

"But we have played in three competitive competitions. In the first, we formatted the team. The second, we reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup. In the Copa America, we won the title.

"Now we are at a new stage of the preparations, preparing for the qualifiers."

Brazil squad in full:

Alisson (Liverpool), Daniel Fuzato (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Danilo (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Emerson (Real Betis), Felipe (Atletico Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain); Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Fabinho (Liverpool), Lucas Paqueta (AC Milan), Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich); David Neres (Ajax), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Richarlison (Everton), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Willian (Chelsea).

Marcelo said Real Madrid's shock loss to Real Mallorca "hurts" as the LaLiga giants lost top spot to defending champions Barcelona.

Madrid crashed to their first LaLiga defeat of the season, with Zinedine Zidane's 10-man visitors succumbing to Lago Junior's early strike at Son Moix on Saturday.

Bitter rivals Barca leapfrogged Madrid into top spot thanks to their win over Eibar earlier in the day, and left-back Marcelo lamented the result away from home.

"We lost but we must keep going," Marcelo said. "It hurts to lose because we played well, but we conceded early on and then looked to make our comeback but it was not possible.

"We did not have time to think, they scored a goal and they defended and waited for the counter, that's no excuse though.

"We need to play well until the final whistle. We have won some games while lacking something. We're trying to do everything possible to win but LaLiga is tough these days."

It was not the result Zidane had in mind following the international break as Madrid looked to preserve their lead atop the table.

However, Mallorca's Lago stunned Madrid seven minutes into the match by finding the bottom-right corner.

Karim Benzema hit the crossbar before substitute Rodrygo Goes squandered a presentable chance and Madrid's hopes of a comeback were all but over when Alvaro Odriozola saw red 16 minutes from the end, with Mallorca holding firm to claim their first win over Los Blancos since 2009.

"We knew about Mallorca," Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said. "The coach warned us they would come out with grit and real intensity. In the first five or 10 minutes, we were caught short. 

"We had chances but lacked that final touch. The goal scorer is right footed and he sent it in at the far post. It is a shame, we should have won here."

On Odriozola's dismissal, Courtois added: "In the first yellow [he] hit the ball, the second is fair. I think that at that time with a card there should be no foul, but hey, it is the adrenaline. Playing with 10 was more complicated."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.