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toni-kroos-RMToni Kroos scored a late winner as Real Madrid finally overcame Celta Vigo but their city rivals Atletico were left frustrated by a promoted side for the second successive week.

Real started the season with an impressive 3-0 win at Real Sociedad but they found life much harder in their first outing at the Bernabeu as Celta threatened to avenge last season’s 7-1 mauling there.

The hosts took a 60th-minute lead through Alvaro Morata but Celta drew level soon after thanks to Fabian Orellana’s brilliant shot from outside the area.

Europa-League-DrawVillarreal, Athletic Bilbao and Celta Vigo have avoided the so-called big boys in Friday’s Europa League group-stage draw.

Villarreal dropped into the Europa League after they crashed out to Monaco in the Champions League playoffs earlier this week, and they will face Steaua Bucharest, FC Zurich and Osmanlispor in Group L.

Athletic Bilbao, meanwhile, take on Genk, Rapid Vienna and Italian debutants Sassuolo in Group F as Celta Vigo have been handed arguably the toughest pool on their return to European competition, with Ajax, Standard Liege and Panathinaikos standing in their way.

iker-casillasIt looks like Iker Casillas’ legendary Spain career has ended as West Ham United’s Adrian San Miguel is picked over the Porto goalkeeper in Julen Lopetegui’s first squad.

Casillas had lost his No 1 jersey to David de Gea at Euro 2016, and the veteran’s fall sees him lose out to former Real Betis shot-stopper Adrian, despite the presence of Lopetegui, the Coach who took him to Porto last summer, at the helm.

“I have spoken to Iker, he is a huge player for the national team, he is a current Spain icon but in this case we’ve decided that from now on David de Gea will be our No. 1 goalkeeper,” Lopetegui told reporters on Friday.

UCL-GroupsThe Champions League draw on Thursday was a mixed bag for Spanish sides. While all four sides will feel confident of moving onto the knockout stages, the path will be a lot more difficult for Barcelona than the rest of their Spanish rivals.

That is because Barcelona have been paired with Manchester City, which means a return to Catalan for new City boss Pep Guardiola. The Spanish champions beat City at the last-16 stage in both 2014 and 2015 while goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has just completed a move from Barca to Guardiola’s new side

Champions League trophyVillarreal are heading to the Europa League after losing 1-0 at Monaco, and 3-1 on aggregate in the Champions League play-off.

The Yellow Submarine needed two goals to have any chance of progression, but the first half went as realists would have predicted, the Spaniards seeing plenty of the ball yet creating very little, while the Principality outfit looked dangerous on the counterattack.

Indeed, the best chance in the opening 40 minutes fell to Monaco as Thomas Lemar hit a pullback in the box first time that squeezed between Sergio Asenjo’s legs, although the goalkeeper just about scrambled to stop the ball from rolling over the line.

Neymar-Brazil-4Neymar will miss Barcelona’s game with Athletic Bilbao this weekend and won’t return to Spain until after the international break at the beginning of September, according to multiple reports in the Spanish media.

After scoring the winning penalty against Germany to secure an Olympic Gold medal for Brazil on Saturday, the 24-year-old had been expected back in training for his club side on Wednesday. However, both Sport and Mundo Deportivo claim Luis Enrique has given the forward permission to remain in Brazil until September.

Barca’s second league game of the new campaign against Athletic on Sunday is followed by the first round of international fixtures of the season.

diego-simeone-newAtletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Alaves in extraordinary circumstances at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday night.

Atletico, aiming to make the championship race a three-team affair for a fourth year in a row, looked to have secured the win after Kevin Gameiro converted a stoppage-time penalty on his debut. But Alaves’ Manu Garcia stunned Atletico with a long-distance strike seconds before the whistle.

Diego Simeone’s side had seen their title rivals Real and Barcelona claim maximum points before they took to the pitch.

bale-celebratesGareth Bale took just 72 seconds to score his first goal of the season, and added a second with the last kick of the game against Real Sociedad, as Real Madrid got off to a winning start in La LIga.

Marco Asensio scored the other goal in the 3-0 win, the 20-year-old was outstanding alongside talisman Bale who led from the front and made sure Madrid never missed Cristiano Ronaldo.

Zinedine Zidane could welcome back Ronaldo next weekend against Celta Vigo but there need be no rush because without their double European Champion – and also missing Pepe, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema, and with James Rodriguez and Isco on the bench – they saw off Real Sociedad with impressive ease.

luis-enrique-barcaLuis Enrique has made it clear that Barcelona “are always open to improving our squad” as deals for Jasper Cillessen and Paco Alcacer are reportedly close.

Barca are expected to sign a goalkeeper and forward before the transfer window shuts on August 31, with Ajax’s Cillessen tipped to join as a replacement for Claudio Bravo and Valencia’s Alcacer the heavy favourite to satisfy the champions’ need for a fourth striker.

“We’re preparing for this campaign as we have all before it,” the Coach said at a Press conference ahead of La Blaugrana’s opening-day clash with Real Betis in La Liga on Saturday.

zidane-newestTwo-time La Liga winner Fabio Capello believes Real Madrid are favourites to win the Spanish title and the Champions League next season.

The former Madrid boss, who won La Liga in 1997 and 10 years later with Los Blancos, backed his ex-employers to end Barcelona’s grip on the Primera Division and lift La Duodecima when asked for his 2016-17 predictions by Corriere dello Sport.

“In Spain and Europe, Real Madrid are favourites for their history, tradition and quality of their players, even though I really like Bayern Munich this year,” the Italian said.