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REAL MADRID

Real Madrid players hold crisis talks: Marcelo admits poor form

Real Madrid players hold crisis talks after Real Sociedad defeat

RAFA APARICIO

Real Madrid's players held a team meeting at Valdebebas in the wake of their shock LaLiga defeat at home to Real Sociedad.

The Real Madrid players held a crisis meeting at their Valdebebas training ground today as Los Blancos digested last night's surprise LaLiga defeat at home to Real Sociedad - a result that left the European champions 10 points adrift of leaders Barcelona and all but out of the title race.

Ramos signalled need for team meeting after Sunday's defeat

Speaking after the 2-0 loss at the Bernabéu, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos had told reporters that the squad needed to have frank discussions ("We'll have a good talk face to face") in the wake of a poor start to 2019 that has so far yielded one point from a possible six in LaLiga.

According to the Spanish television channel La Sexta, the 25-minute meeting was led by senior figures Ramos, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema, and saw Marcelo acknowledge in front of his team-mates that his recent performances have not been up to his usual standards.

Madrid start Copa last-16 tie preparations

Following the talks, the players began preparations for their next game, which sees them host Leganés in the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 on Wednesday evening. Yesterday's starters underwent a recovery session, with the rest of the squad training at a greater degree of intensity.

Several members of the latter group - such as Keylor Navas, Álvaro Odriozola, Nacho Fernández, Jesús Vallejo, Sergio Reguilón, Fede Valverde, Dani Ceballos and Isco - are expected to come into the side against Los Pepineros.

Bale, Llorente, Asensio and Mariano continue recoveries

Injured quartet Gareth Bale, Marcos Llorente, Marco Asensio and Mariano Díaz remained unable to take part in group training, although Díaz did complete part of his rehabilitation work out on the training pitch alongside Castilla's Javi Sánchez.