Sergio Ramos' late penalty secured Real Madrid their first win of the 2020-21 LaLiga season as Los Blancos won 3-2 at 10-man Real Betis, for whom Barcelona-owned Emerson endured something of a nightmare.

Zinedine Zidane's men began their title defence with an underwhelming 0-0 stalemate with Real Sociedad, and while they were only marginally better in Seville, they just about made the most of their numerical advantage.

Madrid initially looked good value for their lead when Federico Valverde prodded them in front, but Betis showed excellent resilience to turn it around.

Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho did the damage in a three-minute salvo, the latter netting in successive games having not scored in his first 57 outings for the club.

Things began to look up for Madrid early in the second half when Emerson found his own net before then getting sent off, and Los Blancos completed the win thanks to Ramos' spot-kick eight minutes from time.

Diego Simeone wants Luis Suarez to improve on the goalscoring output of Alvaro Morata and be the catalyst that makes Atletico Madrid LaLiga title challengers again following his move from Barcelona.

Suarez completed a €6million switch from Barca on Friday, signing a two-year contract with Atleti following a largely acrimonious Camp Nou departure.

The Uruguayan striker, 33, reached third in Barca's all-time goalscoring charts in his six years at the club and netted 16 in the league last term, a respectable figure given he made just 22 starts and missed a significant portion of the season through injury.

Ronald Koeman revealed in his news conference on Saturday that, while he planned to discard Suarez anyway, the decision to move the former Liverpool star on had already been made before the Dutchman arrived.

But one man's trash is another man's treasure, and Simeone is adamant Suarez's impact at the Wanda Metropolitano could be massive, challenging him to improve on the 12 LaLiga goals scored last season by Morata, who was allowed to leave for Juventus.

"The arrival of Suarez encourages us to continue growing," Simeone told reporters, having also confirmed the striker is in the squad for Atletico's season opener at home to Granada on Sunday.

"He will give us internal competition. He is a forward who has impressive offensive power and hopefully he can continue to produce the numbers that he has been doing in the past.

"These six years [at Barca] have been wonderful [for Suarez]. His colleagues have received him with enthusiasm we hope he adapts as soon as possible.

"We all know him – he's a great reference for the team. Given the option that Alvaro had of being able to leave, the best way to continue improving was to look for someone who could improve on Alvaro's scoring contribution, and when the option of Suarez appeared, what was I going to say? His numbers speak for themselves.

"We were lucky that when we had a very good [Radamel] Falcao, a very good [Diego] Costa or a very good [Antoine] Griezmann, we came close to fighting for everything. Let's hope that with Luis Suarez it will be like that and we can overcome what we did last season."

Atletico finished third in LaLiga last term, 17 points adrift of a Real Madrid side that, while certainly solid, was hardly spectacular as they clinched the title.

Six teams – including Sunday's visitors Granada – scored more than Atletico in 2019-20, but Simeone feels things will be different with Suarez having a point to prove.

"I'm going to be sincere with you, he was convinced that this was the place where he could show that he was a top-notch forward," Simeone added. "I found what I was looking for for this club – ambition and a desire to be here.

"Hopefully he will give us back the options we had when we had the best Falcao, the best Costa or the best Griezmann. That would mean getting closer to the successes that all fans want."

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.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane believes Barcelona have a squad that is capable of "fighting for everything".

After a trophy-less 2019-20 season, Ronald Koeman is rebuilding the Blaugrana, who have seen the likes of Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Nelson Semedo leave.

Philippe Coutinho has returned from his loan spell at Bayern Munich and Miralem Pjanic joined from Juventus, while Lionel Messi ended up staying after requesting a move.

Zidane, whose Madrid visit Real Betis on Saturday, said Barca were strong enough to again be challenging for titles.

"I will be respectful. Besides, I don't know what's going on inside, that's why I don't want to get involved," the Madrid coach told a news conference.

"I think each club has their own issues and difficulties. I think Barcelona, in terms of the team and the squad, is a club who will be fighting for everything.

"I don't have any doubt."

Madrid have also seen some changes to their squad, most notably the departures of Gareth Bale (on loan to Tottenham) and James Rodriguez (Everton).

Bale's relationship with Zidane reportedly deteriorated in recent months, although the Welshman told Sky Sports on Friday he had "no regrets".

Asked if he had anything to say about Bale, Zidane said: "I'm not going to speak about what Gareth said.

"Against, what I will say is that we wish him the best for the future and we are focused on ourselves now. That's all."

Zinedine Zidane insists he will not put pressure on the Real Madrid board to bring in attacking reinforcements before the transfer window closes.

Madrid have been quiet since the market re-opened and the 0-0 stalemate at Real Sociedad to kick off their LaLiga title defence in underwhelming fashion suggested Zidane might have to seek solutions beyond his squad.

However, despite allowing creative talents such as Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Brahim Diaz to leave, the head coach told reporters ahead of Saturday's match against Real Betis that he will not be pestering Florentino Perez to get the chequebook out.

"This is the squad I have to work with, I'm not going to ask for anything more," he said.

"But I know that anything can happen between now and October 5.

"I think the best thing for all managers is that the transfer deadline comes and goes.

"I think I have the best squad and I'm thoroughly behind my players."

Perhaps Madrid's more recent attempts to spend big and bolster their attack are serving as cautionary tales.

Eden Hazard is still building up match fitness and unavailable, the stop-start nature of his underwhelming first season at the Santiago Bernabeu apparently playing on a loop few take any pleasure in watching.

"He's okay, that injury isn't a bother anymore," Zidane said of the damaged foot that required surgery last term.

"But he needs to get training sessions under his belt, he needs to work for the team and go slow.

"In a short time, he'll be with the squad. What we want and what the player wants is to be part of that first-team fold and playing."

Luka Jovic was again an unused substitute in San Sebastian but Zidane maintains the former Eintracht Frankfurt favourite has a role to play, perhaps even in tandem with first-choice striker Karim Benzema.

"They can play together. But we've got a lot of games coming up and there are lots of different playing styles and formations. Every game is different," he said.

"We also have to take into account our opponents. Also, like I said, every game is different and you have to choose players accordingly.

"I've never said Karim and Jovic can't play together up front. I can see it, definitely."

Zidane added: "Last season we won two titles, so we obviously had no problem scoring and winning titles

"You go through periods where sometimes you struggle to score and put those chances away but it's something you work on to improve."

Gareth Bale is confident he can handle any pressure at Tottenham after living with a target on his back at Real Madrid.

The Wales star is back in north London and itching to get started at Tottenham, with a minor knee injury delaying his second debut for the club.

Bale spent six years at Tottenham before leaving for Madrid in 2013, winning four Champions League titles and LaLiga twice with Los Blancos before his time in Spain turned sour.

As his performances dipped, and as Zinedine Zidane stopped counting on him as a first-team regular, Bale began to lose the faith of the Santiago Bernabeu crowd.

Posing with a flag carrying the now-immortal line "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order" while on international duty did Bale no favours.

Zidane's sidelining of Bale drew few complaints in Spain, but the Cardiff-born forward is back in the Premier League and looking to prove his career can lift off again.

He told Sky Sports: "Obviously going into a different culture, a different country, I've had to grow up as a person, never mind a footballer.

"You just learn how to deal with the situations that you're in. Obviously I've been in immense pressure situations. I've had people on the pitch whistling in the stadium to me.

"I've just learned how to deal with those type of things, to not take it too seriously, [not] take it too much to heart, and just get on with it.

"I have no regrets of what I've done, whatever anyone else has said, that's up to them. I know my opinion of myself and my family know exactly what I am, so that's all I'm worried about."

Spurs hope they have re-enlisted a world-class player who is motivated to prove his qualities all over again. The deal is a season-long loan initially.

"We have a great team here now with a great squad," Bale said of Jose Mourinho's side.

"They've been doing great. Obviously in the time that I've gone away they've gone on and on and obviously reached the Champions League final, the club's got a new stadium, the club itself is better, they're doing better in the Premier League every year.

"So I just want to add to that. I want to try and bring a bit more to the team and try and progress even more and keep pushing in the right direction."

Jadon Sancho has been tipped to swap Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United, but he remains in Germany.

Sancho's valuation has proved a stumbling block for United, who have made the England international their number one transfer target.

United, though, are not giving up hope as they reportedly make one last attempt to sign the 20-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET FOR FINAL SANCHO OFFER

Manchester United will make a take-it-or-leave-it offer for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star and the Mirror.

United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their €120million (£108m) asking price.

But United are preparing a final and non-negotiable £90m (€98m) offer, with £75m (€82m) up front with an additional £15m (€16m) in add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS reports Real Madrid face competition for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. Eyeing a move for Camavinga in 2021, Madrid are set to face a battle from Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Kylian Mbappe could be available for around €100m, says L'Equipe. The PSG star, who is reportedly seeking an exit, is wanted by Madrid and Liverpool.

- The Sun claims Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is set to leave Stamford Bridge on loan following Edouard Mendy's arrival.

- Madrid forward Borja Mayoral has agreed to join Serie A side Roma, reports DiMarzio.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Juventus are weighing up a €60m move for Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked to Milan.

- If Milan Skriniar leaves for Tottenham, DiMarzio claims Inter could target Schalke star and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are making a late push to sign long-time target and Inter forward Lautaro Martinez following Luis Suarez's switch to Atletico Madrid.

Barca are confident they will sign Ajax full-back Sergino Dest ahead of Bayern, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also reports that Atletico will not negotiate with Arsenal regarding Thomas Partey as they believe he will stay in the Spanish capital.

Gareth Bale gave Real Madrid a lot and remains a "world-class talent", according to his former coach Juande Ramos.

The Wales international completed a return to Tottenham last week on a season-long loan, seven years after swapping the two clubs for a world-record fee at the time.

He won 13 trophies during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu, including four Champions League titles, but he struggled for appearances over the past couple of seasons.

Madrid paid little tribute to Bale following his departure and Ramos has suggested the 31-year-old deserves more respect.

"He is a player I like a lot," Ramos, who coached the forward at Tottenham and also managed Madrid for six months, told Radio Marca.

"I think he has given Real Madrid a lot too. He has enormous power and a magical left foot. He is a very usable footballer and one of the few with world-class talent."

Bale scored 105 goals and contributed 57 assists in 251 appearances for Madrid but was restricted to 20 outings last season after falling out of favour with boss Zinedine Zidane.

"Inside Madrid they will know the problems he may have had with Zidane," Ramos said. "But I am sure he has his own side of the story."

Tottenham also signed Sergio Reguilon from Madrid in a permanent deal last week and Ramos has tipped the left-back to be a success in north London.

"For now it is a populated position with [Ferland] Mendy and Marcelo. If they have made a decision to let Sergio go it's because they received a good amount of money," he said.

"Reguilon had less chance of minutes with Real Madrid than the other two and I think he will adapt well to Spurs. He is a player with a lot of potential."

Bayern Munich or Barcelona?

Two of the world's biggest clubs are going head-to-head for Ajax sensation Sergino Dest.

And the club from LaLiga are reportedly favourites to land the teenager.

 

TOP STORY – DEST WANTS BARCA

Ajax full-back Sergino Dest has pushed aside an offer from Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern Munich as he looks to join Barcelona, according to Sport.

Bayern and LaLiga giants Barca are both interested in the 19-year-old United States international.

But Dest has his heart set on Barca, where a principle agreement is reportedly in place between the player and Ajax.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham and Inter are in talks regarding centre-back Milan Skriniar, reports Sky Sport Italia. Skriniar is wanted by Jose Mourinho's Spurs but the Premier League club are unwilling to match Inter's £55million (€60m) valuation. Benfica's Ruben Dias remains a serious alternative.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez is wanted by Serie A trio Napoli, Roma and Milan.

- The same outlet also reports that Manchester United and Arsenal are two possible destinations for out-of-favour Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. Former club Lyon, Rennes and Inter have also been linked.

Aston Villa are eyeing Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, according to the Telegraph. Barkley is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

- Kicker says Barca and Roma have joined Paris Saint-Germain in looking at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who looks set to leave London.

Manchester City are still pursuing Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez, says the Daily Star. An alternative to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, City's interest in Gimenez could be scuppered as the Uruguay international isolates and recovers from coronavirus.

- Despite already signing Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, Le10 Sport claims David Beckham's Inter Miami remain keen on free agent Edinson Cavani. However, the former PSG forward is still hoping to remain in Europe.

Real Madrid have announced that no players or staff members have tested positive for coronavirus.

News emerged on Tuesday that midfielder Martin Odegaard had reportedly returned a positive test after Madrid's goalless draw with Real Sociedad.

The 21-year-old took part in training on Tuesday and was also in close contact with Sociedad's players at the weekend.

However, Madrid released a statement on their official website on Wednesday to announce no members of their squad have contracted COVID-19.

"Real Madrid communicates after the latest COVID-19 tests carried out on our first football team and their coaching staff, all the results have been negative," the statement read.

Madrid return to action on Saturday with a trip to Real Betis, who have won their opening two games to occupy second place in the division.

First Juventus, now Atletico Madrid.

For so long, Luis Suarez appeared set to leave Spain for Italy.

But a proposed move to Juve did not materialise as the Barcelona forward stands on the cusp of uniting with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ TO JOIN ATLETICO

Luis Suarez will swap Barcelona for LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Suarez had been tipped to join Serie A champions Juventus after being told he could leave Camp Nou.

But the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will now sign a two-year deal with Atletico as he dominates the front pages of Wednesday's Marca, Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have progressed talks with Barca regarding forward Ousmane Dembele, Record Sport reports. Having so far failed to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, United are eyeing an initial loan move for Dembele.

- Esport3 claims Barca are set to sign Ajax right-back Sergino Dest, who was also wanted by Bayern Munich.

Milan have offered €20million for Nikola Milenkovic but Fiorentina have said no, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer and Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic are also options for the Rossoneri.

- Tuttosport claims Wolves are circling Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to United.

Fulham and Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Tottenham have also been linked to the Poland international, while Roma are believed to be in talks as Milik enters the final year of his Napoli contract.

- Sky Sport Italia says Tottenham have opened talks for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, while Benfica's Ruben Dias is another option for Spurs.

- Torino are battling Atletico for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sportitalia. The former Sampdoria star has also been linked to Milan.

- Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Chelsea over the possible signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Discussions with Milan over a return have become complicated and PSG are now eyeing an initial loan deal for the former Monaco star.

Real Madrid and Liverpool reportedly lead the race for Kylian Mbappe if the France star decides to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 21, is contracted at PSG until 2022, making his future a talking point heading into next year.

It seems the France international's future lies at one of three clubs.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID, LIVERPOOL LEAD RACE FOR MBAPPE

Mbappe's future will be decided next year and the forward will be at PSG, Real Madrid or Liverpool, according to L'Equipe.

The World Cup winner has been heavily linked with Zinedine Zidane's Madrid previously, while Jurgen Klopp's Premier League champions have also reportedly been interested in the past.

The report says Liverpool and Madrid are in regular contact with Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Luis Suarez is set for a Barcelona exit, but the forward's next club remains unclear. Sport reports Suarez has an agreement with Atletico Madrid, apparently for two seasons, but Barca are said to be intending to block him joining a direct rival for free.

- Manchester United could strengthen as soon as this week. The Guardian reports Porto left-back Alex Telles hopes to seal a move to United this week and it says the Premier League club are hoping to get the 27-year-old's price down to £23mllion (€25m).

- With Kepa Arrizabalaga again coming under fire, Chelsea are set to welcome a new goalkeeper. RMC Sport reports the Premier League club have finalised a deal worth £22million (€24m), plus £5.5m (€6m) in bonuses, with Rennes for Edouard Mendy.

- Staying at Chelsea and N'Golo Kante is reportedly wanted by Inter. Corriere dello Sport reports Inter coach Antonio Conte wants the midfielder, but a €50million (£45.9m) asking price is unthinkable for the Serie A club unless Christian Eriksen or Marcelo Brozovic are sold.

- There could also be movement at Real Madrid. EFE reports Luka Jovic is pushing for a return to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan after struggling in his first season with the LaLiga giants. Meanwhile, Marca says former Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has been offered to Madrid.

- While Suarez may arrive, Atletico Madrid are also considering their transfer options. AS reports they are waiting for offers for Diego Costa, while Marca says the LaLiga club need to see a player leave before potentially signing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira.

Jose Mourinho is convinced Gareth Bale will return to fitness following a knee injury ahead of schedule because of his desire and motivation for play for a club he loves.

Bale, 31, completed a sensational return to Tottenham from Real Madrid on a season-long loan on Saturday, having originally departed seven years ago for a then world-record fee.

Although he enjoyed great success – including winning four Champions League titles – in Madrid, he increasingly found himself on the periphery of the first team under Zinedine Zidane over the past few years.

A return to Spurs proved a welcome move for Bale, who developed into one of the Premier League's most devastating players prior to joining Madrid.

The winger sustained a knee injury on international duty earlier this month, meaning he will not be in action until October at the earliest, though Mourinho suspects Bale's extra motivation will lead to an earlier-than-expected return.

"I don't know when Gareth can be back," Mourinho said. "I only know the motivation is high because he is so happy to be with the club of his heart.

"He's so happy to play for us, and when a player has these motivations, many times you can shorten the period of recovering, getting fit and ready to play.

"We want to help him, so when he is available to train with the team, we are more than happy to have him and help him to be back to a level that may be one of the best players in the world."

Confirmation of Bale's move came shortly after that of Sergio Reguilon's transfer – the Spain left-back also arriving from Madrid, having impressed on loan at Europa League winners Sevilla in 2019-20.

Spurs are next in action against Leyton Orient in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, and while Mourinho thinks that will come too soon for Reguilon, he should be ready for the visit of Newcastle United on Sunday.

"I think he'll be quite quick [in terms of getting up to speed physically]," Mourinho said. "He's in the last period of his recovery and is training today with one of my assistants.

"He cannot play Tuesday but I would say that he will be available for us for the end of the week."

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.

Zinedine Zidane insists he does not have any issue with Luka Jovic despite deciding not to turn to the striker in Real Madrid's goalless draw at Real Sociedad.

Jovic has struggled at the Santiago Bernabeu since his arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt last year, scoring just twice in LaLiga last season.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a transfer in recent months but was named in the champions' matchday squad for their league opener at Sociedad.

However, even as Madrid struggled to break down their stubborn hosts, Zidane did not look to Jovic, instead handing debuts to Marvin Park and Sergio Arribas.

Zidane explained: "I have many players. Today I have chosen like this.

"I have nothing against Jovic, nor against any player. I did not want to change the picture and that's why I changed the wingers."

One young player who is now getting his chance under Zidane is Martin Odegaard, who was recalled after a season on loan with Sociedad.

Odegaard made his full league debut for Madrid in an advanced midfield role and Zidane saw cause for optimism.

"I'm happy with his debut," Zidane said. "He has no knee discomfort, which is the important thing.

"It is the first game and we have only had three weeks [of pre-season]. Little by little we will improve with Odegaard.

"We have to be calm with everyone. We missed the goal, but we have to be calm."

It was also a big day for experienced centre-back Raphael Varane, with Madrid in competitive action for the first time since his dismal display at Manchester City saw them eliminated from the Champions League in early August.

"What happened in Manchester can happen," Zidane said. "We know the players we have, and all the defenders today have done very well.

"We have only conceded one shot on target. This is the work of all the players, who defend very well. Now we are going to think about doing things better in attack."

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