With old guard back, Real Madrid wins on Zidane’s return
MADRID (AP) — It was like old times at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Zinedine Zidane was back on the bench, and Real Madrid was winning again.
What to watch in the leading soccer competitions in Europe this weekend:
Zinedine Zidane's second stint as Real Madrid coach begins on Saturday with a home match against a Celta...
Raul de Tomas scores 3 as Rayo wins 3rd straight league game
MADRID (AP) — Forward Raul de Tomas scored a hat trick to lead Rayo Vallecano to a 4-2 win over Celta Vigo on Friday, boosting its chances of escaping the Spanish league's relegation zone.
After he curled in a free kick in the fourth minute, Celta equalized through defender Nestor Araujo and took the lead in the 18th through striker Maxi Gomez's penalty.
De Tomas made it 2-2 in the 37th, after a video review overturned an initial offside call, and then volleyed home a pass in the 77th.
Athletic leaves Liga relegation zone after beating Celta
MADRID (AP) — Inaki Williams set up a goal in the first half and scored in the second to help Athletic Bilbao escape the Spanish league's relegation zone with a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo on Monday.
The away victory moved Athletic to 17th place, two points above the relegation zone after 18 matches. The Basque Country club had been among the bottom three since the 13th round.
Spain striker Iago Aspas injures leg muscle, out 1 month
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain striker Iago Aspas injured his leg during Celta Vigo's 2-0 loss at Barcelona on Saturday and is expected to be out for four weeks.
Celta says Aspas has a muscle injury in his right thigh. It says if medical tests confirm the initial diagnosis he will be sidelined a month.
The 31-year-old Aspas is Celta's top scorer and the fourth leading scorer in the Spanish league with 10.
Messi, Dembele protect Barca’s 3-pt lead before winter break
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi ensured Barcelona reached the Spanish league's winter break atop the standings, playing a part in both goals of a 2-0 win at home over Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Messi scored Barcelona's second goal to take his league-leading tally to 15 in 17 rounds, including six goals in his last three matches, as Barcelona stayed three points ahead of Atletico Madrid.
Leganes extends unbeaten run after 0-0 draw at Celta in Liga
MADRID (AP) — Modest Spanish side Leganes held on to draw at Celta Vigo 0-0 on Friday, increasing its unbeaten streak in all competitions to eight games.
Leganes' defense limited Celta to Maxi Gomez's header that struck the corner of the goal-frame in the 73rd minute and a pointblank try from Brais Mendez that goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar did well to save with five minutes remaining.
Real Sociedad beats Celta 2-1, ends winless streak at home
MADRID (AP) — Real Sociedad's winless streak at home is finally over in the Spanish league.
Real Sociedad defeated Celta Vigo 2-1 on Monday to win for the first time in six matches at its Anoeta Stadium.
The club had lost twice and drawn three times this season at the newly renovated stadium in the city of San Sebastian.
New Celta Vigo coach mixes up team’s name with biggest rival
MADRID (AP) — Portuguese coach Miguel Cardoso got off to an embarrassing start as manager of Celta Vigo on Tuesday, mistakenly thanking rival Deportivo La Coruna for hiring him.
Cardoso got the team's name mixed up during his official introduction, saying "Real Club Deportivo" — instead of Real Club Celta — in a news conference.
Casemiro and Fernandez added to Real Madrid’s injury list
MADRID (AP) — Midfielder Casemiro and defender Nacho Fernandez are the latest injury setbacks for Real Madrid.
Both players were injured on Sunday in the 4-2 win at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league.
Casemiro left the match in the first half with a sprained right ankle, and Fernandez was substituted in the second with a dislocated ligament in his right knee.
Betis deals Barcelona 1st home league loss in 2 years
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Not even two goals by Lionel Messi could save Barcelona from its first Spanish league home defeat in more than two years on Sunday when Real Betis won 4-3 at Camp Nou.
Real Madrid took advantage of Barcelona's unexpected slip by winning 4-2 at Celta Vigo to close the gap on the leaders.
Betis never trailed as it ended Barcelona's run of 42 unbeaten home games in the league that dated back to a 2-1 defeat to Alaves in September 2016.
Madrid wins 4-2 at Celta for 4th straight win under Solari
VIGO, Spain (AP) — Karim Benzema scored a superb opening goal in Real Madrid's 4-2 win at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Sunday, boosting interim coach Santiago Solari's chances of staying in charge of the European champions.
Benzema displayed exquisite control to get Madrid rolling in the 23rd minute. Spinning away from the goal, the French striker used his right foot to cushion a forward lob by Luka Modric. He then continued his turn and coolly slotted the ball in.
Solari’s claim on Madrid coaching job faces test at Celta
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — When Real Madrid visits Celta Vigo on Sunday, interim coach Santiago Solari may have his last chance to convince the club that he should stay on the job.
Solari has steered Madrid to three wins since he was promoted from reserve team last week to replace Julen Lopetegui with the team in slump and coming off a 5-1 rout by Barcelona.
Sociedad dedicates goal to player hospitalized for stroke
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Sociedad substitute Juan Miguel Jimenez dedicated the goal that earned a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo on Thursday to a teammate recovering from a stroke.
After slotting in a pass by Aritz Elustondo in the 89th minute, Jimenez raced to the dugout and held up the No. 23 shirt of Lucas Sangalli, who suffered a light stroke while training with the team the day before the Copa del Rey match.
Spanish sensation Alaves wins at Celta to take league lead
VIGO, Spain (AP) — Alaves continued its sensational start to the season by winning 1-0 at Celta Vigo on Friday to go top of Spanish league.
A modest club from Spain's northern Basque Country, Alaves secured another notable victory following a 1-0 win over Champions League winners Real Madrid.
Celta held again, remains winless in 4 La Liga matches
MADRID (AP) — Celta Vigo was held by Getafe to 1-1 at home on Monday, extending its winless streak in the Spanish league to four matches.
The host went ahead with a first-half goal by Maxi Gomez, and Getafe equalized with a 78th-minute strike by Jaime Mata.
"Again, we let two important points slip away," Celta defender Gustavo Cabral said. "This result leaves a bad taste in our mouth."
Some Celta fans jeered the team after the final whistle at Balaidos Stadium in Vigo.
Stunned: Barca loses to last-place Leganes, Real to Sevilla
MADRID (AP) — First it was Barcelona. Then Real Madrid.
Both Spanish league leaders were stunned Wednesday, with Barcelona losing 2-1 at last-place Leganes and Madrid falling 3-0 at Sevilla, marking the first time since 2015 that they lost on the same day.
Girona halts Celta’s run in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Cristhian Stuani scored in each half as Girona ended Celta Vigo's unbeaten run in a 3-2 win in the Spanish league on Monday.
Celta was yet to lose in three league games and could have tied Real Madrid for second place in the standings had it won at Montilivi Stadium. It won two straight matches — including 2-0 at home against Atletico Madrid — after opening with a draw against Espanyol.
Alba, Aspas respond to Spain slight with goals in Liga wins
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Within 48 hours of being dropped by new Spain coach Luis Enrique, Jordi Alba and Iago Aspas responded on the field by scoring in standout wins for their teams in the Spanish league.
Alba scored once, provoked an own-goal and set up two more goals to fuel Barcelona's 8-2 demolition of Huesca on Sunday, a day after Aspas ensured Celta Vigo surprised Atletico Madrid by sealing a 2-0 victory.
LONDON (AP) — Leicester signed Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward from Liverpool on a four-year contract on Friday.
Ward dropped in the pecking order at Anfield following the arrival of Brazil goalie Alisson.
Leicester's fourth signing of the offseason will offer competition to Kasper Schmeichel and Eldin Jakupovic.
MADRID (AP) — Spanish club Celta Vigo has hired Argentine coach Antonio Mohamed on a two-year contract.
Mohamed replaces Juan Carlos Unzue, who left after team failed to qualify for a European competition next season.
Celta finished 13th in La Liga this year with 49 points. It announced the hiring of Mohamed on Tuesday.
The 48-year-old Mohamed has a vast coaching experience in Argentina and Mexico with clubs such as Huracan, Independiente, Tijuana, America and Monterrey.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid warmed up for their European finals by winning in the Spanish league on Saturday.
Madrid didn't need resting forward Cristiano Ronaldo to crush Celta Vigo 6-0 at home in its second-to-last match before the Champions League final against Liverpool.
Atletico also won at crosstown rival Getafe 1-0 just four days before it plays Marseille for the Europa League crown.
MADRID (AP) — Valencia's struggles to clinch a Champions League spot continued in a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Saturday.
It was the third straight match without a victory for Valencia, allowing fifth-place Real Betis to continue to move closer in the fight for the final spot for Europe's top club competition.
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona held on to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Tuesday despite resting its regular starters and finishing the match with 10 men.
Lionel Messi came off the bench in the second half to give the league leaders a boost but Sergi Roberto was sent off about 10 minutes later to allow Celta to equalize and nearly pull off the victory.
MADRID (AP) — Antoine Griezmann is keeping alive Atletico Madrid's hopes of a Spanish league title challenge.
The France forward scored an impressive goal and helped set up two others as Atletico comfortably defeated Celta Vigo 3-0 on Sunday to keep pace with league leader Barcelona.
Victor "Vitolo" Machin and Angel Correa also scored for Atletico at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.
MADRID (AP) — An 89th-minute goal by midfielder Pablo Hernandez helped Celta Vigo come from behind to beat relegation-threatened Las Palmas 2-1 in the Spanish league on Monday.
Celta moved up to ninth place, not far from the clubs fighting for a Europa League spot next season.
Las Palmas stayed 18th in the 20-team standings. It is one point behind Levante, the first team outside the relegation zone.
Getafe keeps momentum in Spain, defeats Celta Vigo 3-0
MADRID (AP) — Getafe followed its surprise draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou Stadium with a comfortable 3-0 win against Celta Vigo on Monday, halting its four-game winless streak in the Spanish league.
After holding off the league leader in the previous round, Getafe took care of mid-table Celta with a pair of goals by Angel Rodriguez and another by Jorge Molina.
The southern Madrid club had drawn four straight matches in the league.
Aspas scores twice as Celta defeats Betis in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Celta Vigo stayed within range of the Champions League spots by defeating Real Betis 3-2 at home with two goals by forward Iago Aspas in the Spanish league on Monday.
Aspas scored in each half to lead Celta to seventh place after 21 matches. It is seven points behind fourth-place Real Madrid.
Betis could have moved up six spots — from 13th to seventh — if it had won at Balaidos Stadium in Vigo.
Inter Milan signs Rafinha on loan to end of season
MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan completed the signing of Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent move.
Inter can sign the Brazil international permanently for 35 million euros ($43 million) plus 3 million euros ($3.7 million) in bonuses, and said on Monday that option "must be taken up before the end of the season."
Defender Umtiti fit for Barcelona after 7 weeks out injured
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has been cleared to play after recovering from a leg injury that sidelined him for seven weeks.
Umtiti hasn't played since damaging a muscle in his right thigh during a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Dec. 2.
Barcelona, however, hasn't missed the 24-year-old French center back, who had become the first-choice partner for Gerard Pique since arriving 1 ½ years ago.
Messi nets 2 as Barca beats Celta 5-0 to reach Copa quarters
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored twice in the space of three minutes to help Barcelona to a 5-0 win over Celta Vigo on Thursday as the holders advanced to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.
Messi, who also created Barcelona's third goal for Jordi Alba, set his team on its way to a 6-1 aggregate victory with his 21st and 22nd goals in all competitions this season.
Madrid advances in Copa despite 2-2 draw against Numancia
MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid reached the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday but its struggles continued with a 2-2 draw against second-division team Numancia.
Madrid, playing with a second-string lineup, advanced 5-2 on aggregate thanks to its 3-0 win in the first leg last week, which marked the team's only win in its last four games.
With words, Zidane tries to get Real Madrid back on track
MADRID (AP) — Zinedine Zidane is hoping his words will help put Real Madrid back on track.
Zidane had a longer than usual talk with his players before training on Tuesday, saying it's his responsibility to keep them motivated despite the team's struggles in the Spanish league.
"Sometimes a talk is necessary," Zidane said. "I'm not giving a speech just to give a speech.
Dembele returns for Barcelona in 1-1 draw at Celta in Copa
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Ousmane Dembele made his return from a long injury layoff as a second-half substitute in Barcelona's 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
The 20-year-old France forward ruptured a thigh tendon in his left leg on Sept. 16 in his third appearance with the team after his transfer set a record for the Spanish club.
Barca coach Valverde says Dembele’s return a slow process
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is celebrating the return of Ousmane Dembele but says it will take time for the young forward to be fully reintegrated with the squad.
Dembele, the club's most expensive signing ever, could make his much-anticipated return from a long injury layoff in Thursday's Copa del Rey match at Celta Vigo.
The 20-year-old Frenchman, who arrived in the offseason to replace Neymar, hasn't played since rupturing a thigh tendon in his left leg on Sept. 16.
Ronaldo celebrates Ballon d’Or with 2 goals in Madrid rout
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his fifth Ballon d'Or award by leading Real Madrid to victory on Saturday, while Valencia kept the pressure on Spanish league leader Barcelona.
Ronaldo presented his trophy for the best player in football to Real Madrid's fans then scored twice as Sevilla was routed 5-0 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Ronaldo received the honor on Thursday in Paris, his fifth trophy equaling Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.
Barcelona faces Celta in Copa del Rey, Madrid gets Numancia
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona will face Celta Vigo in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey, and Real Madrid will play second-division club Numancia.
Barcelona, which has won the competition for the last three years, was held to a 2-2 draw by Celta in the Spanish league on Saturday at Camp Nou.
Tuesday's draw also paired Atletico Madrid with third-division club Lleida. Formentera, another third-tier club, will play last-year's losing finalist, Alaves.
Valencia loses to 10-man Getafe, trails Barcelona by 5 pts
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona stumbled for the second consecutive week but it still gained ground at the top of the Spanish league.
A day after being held to a 2-2 home draw against Celta Vigo — giving its nearest challengers a chance to move closer — the Catalan club saw its advantage at the top strengthen after second-place Valencia lost 1-0 to 10-man Getafe on Sunday.
Madrid draws, loses chance to move closer to Barcelona
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona stumbled again, and Real Madrid wasn't able to capitalize.
Madrid missed a chance to move closer to the top of the Spanish league standings after being held by Athletic Bilbao to 1-1 on Sunday.
It could have moved within six points of the lead after Barcelona drew at home against Celta Vigo 2-2 for its second consecutive setback, but Zinedine Zidane's team struggled in Bilbao and remained eight points behind the Catalan rival after 14 matches.
Leader Barcelona loses points again vs Celta Vigo in La Liga
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona stumbled for the second consecutive week in the Spanish league, being held to 2-2 at home by Celta Vigo on Saturday and giving its nearest challengers more hope.
Barcelona has a five-point lead over second-place Valencia, which plays at mid-table Getafe on Sunday.
Third-place Atletico Madrid moved to within six points by defeating Real Sociedad 2-1 at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, and Real Madrid remained eight points back after being held at Athletic Bilbao to 0-0.
Barcelona defender Umtiti out 2 months with hamstring injury
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona central defender Samuel Umtiti will be sidelined for about two months because of a right hamstring injury.
The France international was hurt midway through the second half of a 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Saturday.
Aspas penalty gives Celta 1-0 win over Leganes in Spain
VIGO, Spain (AP) — Iago Aspas scored a penalty to give Celta Vigo a 1-0 win over Leganes in the Spanish league on Friday.
Aspas fired his spot kick just inside the post in the 27th minute after Leganes' Erik Moran fouled Jonathan "Jonny" Castro from behind in the area.
Sevilla says Argentine coach Berizzo has a malignant tumor
MADRID (AP) — A day after Sevilla rallied to hold Liverpool to a remarkable 3-3 draw in the Champions League, the Spanish club said coach Eduardo "Toto" Berizzo has a malignant tumor.
Rumors about the coach's condition began spreading not long after Tuesday's match in Seville. On Wednesday, the club confirmed that the 48-year-old Argentine has been diagnosed with a prostate tumor.
Atletico held by 3rd-tier Elche to 1-1 draw in Copa del Rey
MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid could only manage a 1-1 draw at third-division club Elche as Spain's leading clubs struggled in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao also flopped in their first-leg matches against third-tier teams. Villarreal was stunned by a 1-0 defeat at Ponferradina, while Athletic was held by Formentera to a 1-1 draw.
Leganes won 2-1 at second-division club Valladolid, and Celta Vigo defeated Eibar 2-1 in a match between first-division teams.
Celta Vigo beats Las Palmas 5-2 with hat trick by Iago Aspas
MADRID (AP) — Iago Aspas got his first goals of the season in a hat trick in Celta Vigo's 5-2 win over struggling Las Palmas in the Spanish league on Monday.
After eight matches without a goal for club or country, the Spain international found the net once in the first half and twice in the second as Celta thrashed the home side despite playing a man down from the 52nd minute.
Emre Mor and Pablo Hernandez also scored for Celta at Gran Canaria Stadium.
Girona earns 3-3 draw at Celta Vigo in Spanish league
VIGO, Spain (AP) — Four goals in a nine-minute span in the first half led to newly promoted Girona and Celta Vigo drawing 3-3 Friday in the Spanish league.
Defender Juan Ramirez scored a late goal to grab a point for Girona at Balaidos Stadium.
Pione Sisto opened for Celta in the eighth minute, Girona quickly went ahead on goals by Cristian Portugues and Christian Stuani, before Maxi Gomez made it 2-2 for the hosts in the 16th.
Espanyol beats Celta Vigo 2-1 to snap winless La Liga streak
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Espanyol scored twice in the first half then held on to defeat Celta Vigo 2-1 for its first win in the Spanish league on Monday.
The Catalan club moved off the bottom of the standings after earning only one point from its first three games.
"We needed this victory to regain our confidence," Espanyol forward Gerard Moreno said. "The team deserved it, and it was good that it came at home, in front of our fans."
Lyon signs Diop for 5 years, 10 million euros
PARIS (AP) — Lyon has signed Spanish midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop from Celta Vigo for 10 million euros ($12 million) plus bonuses.
The French club says the 20-year-old signed for five years to June 2022.
It called him "one of Spanish football's best hopes in midfield."
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has suspended Manchester United defender Eric Bailly from the season-opening Super Cup game against Real Madrid and a Champions League group-stage game.
UEFA said Monday its disciplinary panel imposed a three-match ban for violent conduct on Bailly, who was sent off late in United's Europa League semifinal, second-leg game against Celta Vigo in May.
Bailly missed his team's 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League final when serving the first game of the ban.
Berizzo wants to emulate Sampaoli’s model at Sevilla
SEVILLA, Spain (AP) — Argentine coach Eduardo Berizzo wants to maintain the winning style of predecessor Jorge Sampaoli at Sevilla.
"I have more ideas in common (with Sampaoli) than differences," Berizzo said Tuesday. "My idea of football is to attack, have possession of the ball, and recover it quickly when we lose it."