Nacho was delighted to pick up three pivotal points in the LaLiga title race as Real Madrid demonstrated their strength in depth with a 2-1 triumph over rivals Barcelona on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid moved to the top of the table in Spain – albeit potentially for only 24 hours with Atletico Madrid playing on Sunday – by completing the league double over their Clasico rivals Barca for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

Reigning LaLiga champions Madrid scored both of their goals in the first half, Karim Benzema getting the first with an audacious back-heeled finish before Toni Kroos doubled the lead, albeit his free-kick took a deflection to beat goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

While Oscar Mingueza halved the deficit on the hour mark, Madrid's centre-back pairing of Nacho and Eder Militao helped make sure Madrid retained their advantage through to the final whistle.

"They're three very important points in terms of the title race," Nacho said. "We now have to push on because there's still a long way to go.

"Winning a Clasico is always special and a nice thing, especially with the way the league table is so tight, with everyone fighting to win the league, it's a very important win."

Madrid finished the contest, which saw the second half played out amid heavy downpours, with 10 men – midfielder Casemiro dismissed in the 90th minute.

On the game itself, Nacho said:  "We were very comfortable on the counter-attack. Barcelona like to have a lot of the ball, they can hurt you and you have to defend well and we had to dig in, but we got a two-goal lead which helped us to grow in to it.

"We had to work hard, but we got the win, which is the most important thing."

The home team were once again without captain Sergio Ramos – who missed his first LaLiga Clasico game having appeared in 31 consecutive showdowns – due to injury, while fellow centre-back Raphael Varane is still isolating after a positive COVID-19 test result.

However, having performed admirably in the 3-1 Champions League win over Liverpool in midweek, the combination of Nacho and Militao again impressed at the heart of the Madrid defence.

Lionel Messi could not help Barcelona rescue a point in an eventful finish; he has now failed to score in seven successive games against Madrid in all competitions for the first time in his career.

"We have a very strong squad, we're all contributing in big games like today and the other day against Liverpool," Nacho said.

"The coach believes in all of us and we're at 100 per cent. We still have a lot of really big things left to keep fighting for."

Barca felt aggrieved they were not awarded a penalty after substitute Martin Braithwaite tangled with Madrid full-back Ferland Mendy. 

"I was just the wrong side of Mendy and I don't know what to tell you know. When I've seen it, I'll be able to have an opinion on it," Nacho said of the incident.

Could Harry Kane end up at Real Madrid?

Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is one of Europe's most sought-after and expensive players, while Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe also commands a hefty fee.

With that in mind, Tottenham's Kane has reportedly emerged as a transfer target in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID ADD KANE TO LIST

Real Madrid are interested in signing Tottenham star Harry Kane, according to SER Deportivo.

Madrid have been heavily linked with in-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.

But Madrid's hierarchy reportedly feel a deal to prise Kane from Tottenham may be easier.

 

ROUND-UP

- Wednesday's Marca and Diario AS newspapers are dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo. Marca claims Ronaldo would exit Juventus to return to Madrid, who he left in 2018. Diario AS says Juve are ready to listen to offers for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner. Ronaldo has also been linked with former club Manchester United.

- Sport reports Manchester City defender Eric Garcia will join Barcelona on a five-year deal. It will be the first major signing under new president Joan Laporta as the LaLiga giants also eye Haaland and look to re-sign superstar captain Lionel Messi, who has been tipped to join either PSG or City on a free transfer at season's end.

- TV3 claims Ronald Koeman will continue as Barca head coach in 2021-22 following talks with Laporta. RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann and club great Xavi had been linked.

Inter are ready to reignite their interest in Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, claims Calciomercato. The Serie A leaders have previously been linked with the Argentina midfielder. Antonio Conte's Inter are also tracking Madrid outcast Isco, according to Sport.

- L'Equipe claims United are considering a move for Tottenham captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris amid doubts over David de Gea. Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma has also emerged as a possible target.

Bayern Munich are in talks to sign Madrid attacker Lucas Vazquez on a free transfer, according to AS.

Liverpool, Juventus and Roma are among clubs interested in Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez, says AS. The 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of 2021-22.

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