REAL MADRID

Real Madrid round-up: Marcelo, Lopetegui, Ceballos, Valverde

Real Madrid round-up: Marcelo, Lopetegui, Ceballos, Valverde

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Getty Images

Real Madrid extended their record of 44 consecutive games scoring at home in the Champions League against Plzen but left the pitch to a barrage of whistles.

Real Madrid extended their record of scoring at home in the Champions League to 44 consecutive games against Viktoria Plzen last night but home fans were less than convinced with the performance and made it known with a barrage of whistles as the players left the pitch.

The biggest madridista around - Marcelo points to the badge.

Marcelo: scores, prods Madrid badge but doubtful for El Clásico

Marcelo got on the scoresheet for the second game running last night against Plzen and made a point about the rumours circulating in Italy in recent days that he is seeking a January move to Juventus. In celebration, the Brazilian prodded the Real Madrid badge a couple of times then wagged his finger, gesturing to confirm his commitment to the club as if to say, "I'm going nowhere".

The night didn't end on a happy night for Marcelo who hobbled out of the game on 89 minutes after twisting his right ankle during a challenge with Ubong Ekpai. He'll be having his ankle looked at by Madrid's medical staff in Valdebebas this morning but he was well enough to attend reporters in the Mixed Zone when he went on the record to say the Juve rumours are news to him. "Some things that appear in the press are fair, but I don't let it worry me. I haven't heard anything about any offers. You won't find a player who is more madridista than I am - impossible. I am under contract at Real Madrid", Marcelo explained, adding that his celebration was dedicated to fitness trainer Antonio Pintus.

Federico Valverde (right) challenges Lukas Hejda in his debut for Real Madrid against Viktoria Plzen last night.

Federico Valverde makes his Real Madrid debut

Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde made his first appearance for Madrid's first team last night, coming on for Isco on 54 minutes. The 20-year-old played a part in Marcelo's goal moments after he'd entered the field and showed conviction and personality throughout his 40-minute debut appearance. Valverde, or El Pajarito (Little Bird) as he's known back home in Montevideo, joined Real Madrid Castilla in 2016 but was drafted into the first team squad this season on Lopetegui's request after Mateo Kovacic was loaned to Chelsea. He's the first Uruguayan to star for Los Blancos in the Champions League since Pablo García and Carlos Diogo in 2006.

Lopetegui to remain in charge for Sunday's clash in Barcelona

After the game, Emilio Butragueño confirmed that Julen Lopetegui will stay in his job at least until the final whistle is blown in Sunday's Clásico at Camp Nou. The coach told the media that he doesn't have a problem with the Bernabéu venting their discontent by giving him and his players the whistling treatment and said he was just happy Madrid were back to winning ways. "The public have always been superb and treat us fantastically well. Please don't ask me to interpret things which I know nothing about - the fans are always right. The most important thing was to break a difficult run of results and gain three points. I'm happy - I'm a person who doesn't smile very often. I'm grateful for the concern about me, I'm fine -and much happier than I was after the Levante game. We needed to win tonight and we did. Once things calm down a little, victories will start coming our way again".  

Ceballos sends encouragement

He was left out of the squad list for the Plzen game but Dani Ceballos sent his team mates a message of support on Twitter: "Champions League night. Let's pull together and take this forward, now's the time to be united. Hala Madrid!".

 

 

 

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