Zinedine Zidane refused to say he is "worried" after Real Madrid lost to Real Mallorca but has called on his side to show greater consistency.

Madrid's unbeaten start to the LaLiga season was ended at Son Moix on Saturday thanks to a solitary goal from Lago Junior.

Zidane's side had beaten in-form Granada 4-2 prior to the international break, but his much-changed side struggled to create goalscoring chances against Mallorca as they fell to a defeat that leaves them a point behind league leaders Barcelona.

The Madrid head coach said it is a lack of consistent performances that is holding his side back at present, even if he is not overly concerned by the result.

"The problem is that we have to show every three days that we're good," Zidane said. "That's the difficulty - we don't do it.

"I won't say that I'm worried because I don't like the word, but if we want to win something this season, we need consistency."

Madrid were without the injured Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Lucas Vazquez, with Luka Jovic failing to impress in only his third league start for the club as Zidane set his side up in a 4-4-2.

Zidane insisted the absences were no excuse for their display as he laid down a challenge to his squad players to step up a show they are worthy of a place in the team.

"The injuries aren't an excuse," Zidane said. "There are players who aren't injured; we have more good payers, too.

"When it comes to their turn, they have to show that they're at the level to be here. We can't do anything about the injured players.

"We can't be surprised by a team playing in their own stadium. We knew what would happen. They surprised us because they scored, but then they backed down and we didn't find a solution."

Luka Jovic has found it hard to kick-start his Real Madrid career and Saturday's LaLiga defeat to Real Mallorca showed how much work the striker still has to do.

The 21-year-old, a reported €50million signing from Eintracht Frankfurt in the transfer window, has struggled to make an impact under Zinedine Zidane thanks largely to the continued good form of Karim Benzema.

Speaking on Friday, Zidane insisted Jovic was "not discouraged" at having previously started just two LaLiga matches and promised the forward would be given his chance.

He duly was for the visit to Son Moix, where Madrid's unbeaten start to the league season came to an end thanks to a fine first-half goal from Lago Junior seven minutes in.

Jovic started alongside Benzema in attack as Zidane made a number of changes, most likely with one eye on next Tuesday's Champions League trip to Galatasaray, but the two-pronged attack was a blunt one.

In his 66 minutes on the pitch, Jovic failed to have a shot or a single touch in the Mallorca penalty area, created no chances for team-mates and touched the ball just 25 times overall.

He only exchanged four passes with Benzema, too, highlighting just how much of a disconnect there was between the strikers on a day where Madrid's final ball was far too often wayward.

This was Mallorca's first win over Madrid in LaLiga since May 2009 and their first at home since February 2006, while it ended Madrid's unbeaten domestic run to leave them a point behind leaders Barcelona after nine matches.

The return of injured stars such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale will be welcome, but finding a way to spark Jovic into life might be a more pressing concern.

Real Madrid suffered their first LaLiga defeat of the season as Lago Junior's early strike earned Real Mallorca a shock 1-0 victory at Son Moix.

With Barcelona having leapfrogged Zinedine Zidane's side to lead the way in LaLiga earlier on Saturday, Madrid needed a victory to move back to the top of the pile.

But Mallorca had other ideas and Lago stunned Madrid seven minutes by sending what was the home side's only shot on target in the entire match into the bottom-right corner.

Karim Benzema hit the crossbar before substitute Rodrygo Goes squandered a presentable chance and Madrid's hopes of a comeback were all but over when Alvaro Odriozola saw red in the 74th minute, with Mallorca holding firm to claim their first win over Los Blancos since 2009.

Madrid looked to have quickly settled into their rhythm but were behind when Lago skipped inside Odriozola and curled a superb finish beyond Thibaut Courtois.

Ante Budimir thought he doubled Mallorca's tally seven minutes later when he was set up by Lago, only for his fine strike to be disallowed for offside.

Benzema was inches away from restoring parity before the half-hour mark - his close-range half-volley bouncing back off the woodwork.

Vinicius Junior burst through Mallorca's ranks early in the second half and teed up Benzema, but the Frenchman sent his strike at Manolo Reina.

Rodrygo replaced Isco in the 66th minute and should have done better when he was fed by Benzema, his touch getting away from him and the opening evaporated.

But as the Madrid pressure was building, Odriozola received a second yellow card for a reckless lunge on Iddrisu Baba to round off a frustrating night for the visitors.

 

What does it mean? Barca back on top

Reigning LaLiga champions Barca cruised to a 3-0 victory over Eibar to put the pressure back onto Madrid.

Los Blancos failed to respond and now sit second, a point above this season's surprise package Granada and one behind Barca. The rivals were scheduled to meet in El Clasico next Saturday, but perhaps the postponement due to political tensions in Catalonia has worked in Madrid's favour.

Lago runs Madrid ragged

Mallorca's winger scored 11 goals in the Segunda Division last term but had not replicated that form this season prior to Saturday's encounter.

But he came good against the biggest opponents of all as, boosted by his goal, he was a constant tormentor of Madrid's defence. 

Jovic fails to take his chance

Luka Jovic has often been given short shrift by Zidane this term but, handed the opportunity to impress from the start, he struggled to make an impact, even when Mallorca's defending became more hap-hazard after the interval.

What's next?

Madrid will aim to bounce back against Galatasaray in the Champions League on Tuesday, while Mallorca's next outing is against lowly Leganes in LaLiga.

Real Madrid have agreed with Barcelona's suggestion to move the first LaLiga Clasico of the season to December 18.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday that it had postponed the match at Camp Nou due to safety concerns amid the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

A rally in the city has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca were due to host Madrid, prompting the RFEF to intervene.

The Competition Committee has told the two clubs to agree to a revised date for the game before next Monday and Barca suggested December 18 as the best option.

In a statement released later on Friday, Madrid said: "In light of the Competition Committee ruling which postpones the match scheduled to be played on Saturday October 26 between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and states the clubs must agree a new date for the fixture, Real Madrid wishes to communicate that the date proposed by both said clubs is December 18."

Speaking earlier, head coach Zinedine Zidane said he was prepared to adapt to any plans to reschedule the fixture.

"If we have to play on the 26th, we will, and if we have to change, the important thing is to be prepared," he told a news conference.

"I know there is a lot of debate because it's logical, but my position as coach is this: to be ready on the date that the appropriate person tells us. We'll adapt.

"I have a preference but I'm not going to tell you. We know it could be the seventh, the eighteenth – we'll adapt to this."

December 18, a Wednesday, is seen by many as an appropriate date as neither Barca nor Madrid are involved in the planned Copa del Rey fixtures on that day.

LaLiga reportedly put forward December 7 as its preferred date, as it would keep the match on a Saturday, but this would require Barca's meeting with Real Mallorca and Madrid's game against Espanyol to be moved.

Barca and Madrid are also playing their final Champions League group games, away to Inter and Club Brugge respectively, within four days after December 7.

Barcelona have proposed rearranging the first Clasico of the season to December 18 after it was announced it will not take place next Saturday as planned.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday that it had postponed the match at Camp Nou due to safety concerns amid the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

A rally in the city has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca were due to host Madrid, prompting the RFEF to intervene.

The Competition Committee has told the two clubs to agree to a revised date for the game before next Monday and Barca have suggested December 18 as the best option.

"The club's desire was to play the Clasico at Camp Nou on the 26th, the date and time previously agreed and the Committee was informed of this in writing," they said in a statement on Friday.

"The club has the utmost confidence in the civic and pacific attitude of its members and fans who always express themselves in exemplary fashion at Camp Nou.

"Nevertheless, having received the decision of the RFEF Competition Committee to postpone the game citing 'exceptional circumstances' and given that it falls to the clubs to agree a new date for the game before Monday, the club will propose December 18.

"The club regrets the inconvenience that this postponement may cause to members, supporters' club members and fans and it has now begun the necessary steps to refund money from Monday 21 October for tickets already purchased."

Madrid have not yet responded publicly to Barca's suggestion but head coach Zinedine Zidane insists his squad will be ready to adapt to the revised schedule.

"I know you're all interested in this subject, but we're going to do what they [club officials] tell us," he told a news conference.

"If we have to play on the 26th, we will, and if we have to change, the important thing is to be prepared.

"I know there is a lot of debate because it's logical, but my position as coach is this: to be ready on the date that the appropriate person tells us. We'll adapt.

"I have a preference but I'm not going to tell you. We know it could be the seventh, the eighteenth – we'll adapt to this."

December 18, a Wednesday, is seen by many as an appropriate date as neither Barca nor Madrid are involved in the planned Copa del Rey fixtures for that date.

LaLiga has reportedly put forward December 7 as its preferred date, as it would keep the match on a Saturday, but this would require Barca's meeting with Real Mallorca and Madrid's game against Espanyol to be moved.

Barca and Madrid are also playing their final Champions League group games, away to Inter and Club Brugge respectively, within four days after December 7.

Zinedine Zidane insists his meeting with Paul Pogba in Dubai was "pure chance" – but the Real Madrid boss will not disclose what they discussed.

Manchester United star Pogba, who has been in Dubai as part of his recovery from an ankle problem, was photographed meeting Zidane during his trip to the region for the Dubai Artificial Intelligence in Sport (DAIS) Conference and Exhibition.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted he had "no problem at all" with one of his most important players being pictured speaking with the head coach of a club who are among the favourites to try to sign him.

Pogba was heavily linked with a move to Madrid in the previous transfer window after indicating he wanted a new challenge and it is likely the France international will be the subject of rumours once more in January.

Zidane is not prepared to look ahead to the next transfer window just yet, but he would not go into detail about his chat with his compatriot.

"It was pure chance," he told a news conference on Friday when asked about the meeting. "He was there and I was doing the talk and, as we know each other, we spoke. But it's personal – I'm not going to tell you what we talked about.

"We've known each other for a long time, we crossed paths, we stopped, and we talked.

"There are a lot of options, for every club [in January]. When we come to this date, the clubs will decide. We're going to play with 11 players tomorrow [Saturday, against Real Mallorca] and there will be players on the bench. We'll find a solution.

"We'll be able to sign players until the end of January, but what matters to me is the game [against Mallorca]. I'm not thinking about reinforcements. That's a long way off."

Zidane's immediate concern is Saturday's trip to Mallorca, which Madrid will make without the injured Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez.

Zidane hinted he may choose to call on Federico Valverde in midfield, given his limited options.

"Modric won't be there, Bale won't be there. Kroos won't be with us, either, nor will Lucas...," he said. "We're always playing, travelling and we never stop, so this can happen.

"[Valverde] is very good, like everyone, but we have 25 players and I have to choose the 11 and the 18 for every game. He can play box-to-box and that's important. He has personality, he wants to do well all the time, he's very demanding of himself and that's good for improvement."

Given Karim Benzema's form this season, it looks unlikely striker Luka Jovic will make only a third LaLiga start since his reported €60million transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt.

Zidane, though, insists the 21-year-old will get his chance to impress.

"He's not discouraged. He knows the situation," he added of Jovic, who has played just 218 minutes this season for his club.

"He's a player who just arrived and he's much better, he's speaking Spanish bit by bit, training well and I will be using him. He's not played much so far, but I'll use him."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he has no concerns over Paul Pogba's commitment after the Manchester United midfielder was pictured with Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Pogba, who has been in Dubai as part of his recovery from an ankle problem, was photographed meeting Zidane during his trip to the region for the Dubai Artificial Intelligence in Sport (DAIS) Conference and Exhibition.

The picture has further fuelled rumours about Zidane's possible interest in signing the player in January, with Pogba having been unable to secure an exit from Old Trafford in the previous transfer window.

However, United manager Solskjaer has no problem with meeting and has full confidence that Pogba wants to stay at the club.

"I've never heard Paul say he doesn't want to be here," he told a news conference.

"Paul is part of our plan going forward and Paul knows that. I've spoken to Paul many times. He's been playing through pain barriers. He's been criticised right, left and centre, but he came back, [against] Rochdale, Arsenal, he could easily have opted not to play them, but he wanted to play them.

"He wanted to try to get back, it was too painful, so we had that scan and now he's on the way back, he's mending, he's recovering, he's been on a few days off working and there's a picture. That's the way it is with Man United. I don't have any problem with that at all."

Solskjaer, who allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to leave for Inter without replacements being brought in, has previously said he would not keep a player at United against his will while he attempts to create a more desirable mentality within the squad.

United have struggled for goals this season, though, with injuries to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford further depleting their forward line, and they head into Sunday's match against Liverpool with just two wins and nine goals scored from eight Premier League games.

Solskjaer, though, is not concerned that the short-term drawbacks of his rebuilding work could mean he is not given enough time to reap the possible rewards of his long-term vision.

"The time is always right to make the right decision," he said. "It was the right time to make those decisions and go on with the squad that we have. The injuries didn't help, we're getting players back now and I'm sure between now and Christmas if you see a full-strength squad then we'll get the results.

"The last few weeks have been difficult, they have been, but it's not like two or three weeks will tell me they were the wrong decisions. They were the right decisions. Listen, [for] the culture that we want to build, I had to make those decisions. That's it.

"When you lose the majority of your front creativity that we started with, you're going to struggle to create as many chances as you'd like. The Newcastle [United] game, we had 75 per cent possession but you can't create that opening…

"The pressing up high has been very good, the attitude, desire has been very good, but as you say, not enough chances created, chances haven't been taken. Sometimes that's confidence, that's human nature, you see players missing chances that they normally would not miss. But it's up to us to keep working and get the ball in between the posts. That goal never moves. It's the easiest bit because you know where it is."

The transfer window may be shut, but Paul Pogba's future is still making headlines.

Pogba – who is set to miss the Premier League showdown against Liverpool due to injury – reportedly eyed a Manchester United exit and a move to Real Madrid.

A switch to the Santiago Bernabeu could be on the horizon after Pogba was snapped with Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane in the United Arab Emirates.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA MEETS ZIDANE IN DUBAI

Pogba has been linked with a fresh move to Madrid after the United star was pictured with Zidane, reports The Mirror.

Pogba wanted to leave United during the previous window, with LaLiga giants Madrid and former club Juventus the two favourites to sign the Frenchman, but a move did not materialise.

However, Pogba – recovering from a foot injury – was seen with Madrid head coach Zidane during his trip to Dubai, fuelling fresh speculation over his future at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to 90min, United are monitoring Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani. The 32-year-old Uruguay international is out of contract at this season's end and has been linked to Juve, Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami.

- Inter are chasing Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali and Atalanta's Dejan Kulusevski, says Calciomercato. Both players are 19 years of age and attracting interest in Serie A.

- Calciomercato also reports Tottenham are ready to send Christian Eriksen to Juventus in exchange for Adrien Rabiot. Eriksen's contract expires at the end of the season and has been linked to the likes of Madrid and United, while Rabiot only moved to Turin from PSG at the end of 2018-19.

- Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, United, Spurs and Inter have been credited with interest in Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria, according to Bild.

- Manchester City have emerged as favourites to sign Hearts teenager Aaron Hickey, claims the Daily Star.

Former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado insisted Luka Jovic is a "great striker," who needs time to settle in at the La Liga giant.

Jovic is still searching for his first goal for Madrid since arriving from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in a reported €60million deal.

The 21-year-old Serbia international arrived in the offseason after scored 27 goals in 2018-19. However, he is yet to open his Madrid account and has not found the back of the net since a Euro 2020 qualifier in June.

Salgado, who won four LaLiga titles and two Champions League trophies during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu, was asked about Jovic and he told Omnisport: "He's a young player. If Real Madrid signed him, is due to something. He has been a great player Eintracht Frankfurt, lot of goals, great attacking quality.

"It is known that Real Madrid needed a 'nine', a striker. Benzema is a different 'nine', a player that collects, combines over finishing. Jovic must still learn, it's a young player and Real Madrid it's a team with a lot of pressure. He needs time. He has that time, we know he's a great striker, you guys know that here in Germany."

Salgado also urged to "give him some space" and then "little by little" Jovic would become a Real Madrid player.

Jovic, who was not called up by Serbia during the international break, and La Liga leaders Madrid are back in action away to Mallorca on Saturday.

While Madrid top the table by two points, it has not been a straightforward start to the season for Zinedine Zidane's men.

Zidane, in his second spell at the helm, has been criticised, especially after the club's 3-0 Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

"There's always critics at Real Madrid. A club that depends on victories, a gigantic club," Salgado said. "With a lot of pressure. But I think the last two scores had calm the team.

"Zidane deserves all our respect, he won three Champions Leagues in a row. Something that no one has achieve in history, now arriving into Madrid in a difficult position from last year. The season just started, and they climb into the first positions. We've got to let them work. I know Real Madrid, I been there almost 11 years. I know how it works and it's important that the manager and the players are calm in a moment like these.

"As I said, being leaders brought clam to the team and the team will grow a lot from now on. Zidane deserves the confidence from us, supporters. I think he's doing a great job."

Sergio Reguilon insists he left Real Madrid "on good terms" despite others making the decision to loan him to Sevilla for the season.

Reguilon, 22, broke into Madrid's first-team squad last season, usurping Marcelo as first-choice left-back for a period in the second half of the season under Santiago Solari, his former Castilla coach.

The left-back soon found himself playing back-up again once Zinedine Zidane returned and restored Marcelo to the starting XI in March, while the pre-season signing of Ferland Mendy from Lyon saw Reguilon's hopes of first-team football diminish even further.

Sevilla are coached by Julen Lopetegui, who initially promoted Reguilon to Madrid's first team during a short-lived spell for the coach at the Santiago Bernabeu last year, and the Andalusian club secured the full-back's arrival on a season-long loan in July.

Reguilon has been a revelation for Sevilla, starting seven of their eight LaLiga matches.

His impressive performances resulted in a first call-up to Spain's senior squad for October's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Norway and Sweden, suggesting Reguilon could have been an asset to Madrid this term, though he feels entirely at ease with his parent club.

"I have a very clear conscience because I left everything out there [on the pitch] for Real Madrid," Reguilon told AS.

"Others made that decision [to loan Reguilon] and I can't do anything but do my job to the very best. It's what I did in Madrid and I try to do it now at Sevilla.

"I left Madrid on good terms, I wasn't mad at anyone. Everything was a mutual agreement. I am an academy player and I owe everything to Madrid. It's impossible for me to leave in a bad way.

"I want to do my best at Sevilla and that's my only concern. The best way to make it difficult for Zidane is to play well for Sevilla.

"My plan is to run, perform and give everything in every game and next year, whatever happens will happen."

Reguilon is expected to return to Madrid at the end of the season as Sevilla do not have a purchase option.

Zinedine Zidane hailed Federico Valverde's form for Real Madrid after a 4-2 win over Granada on Saturday.

Valverde, 21, made his third straight LaLiga start for Madrid, setting up a goal for Eden Hazard as Zidane's men moved four points clear at the top.

The Uruguay international's display was lauded by Zidane, who praised the midfielder's energy.

"I'm happy for him. He deserves it, he's a player that'll always prove just how good he is," the Madrid coach told a news conference.

"He's improving, he's doing exceptionally well and he's always moving forward, he wants to get on the ball and he had a hand in the goals.

"This is a team game and that first-half performance was brilliant in every sense. We did really well in terms of getting out of our half with the ball.

"That's the kind of player he [Valverde] is. He's a bit of a modern player, he's got a fantastic engine on him, it's not only in attack because he puts in just as much work in defence too and that's important in the modern game and he's doing well, just as many of them are.

"I'm delighted for Fede because he's getting game time and he deserves it."

Valverde gained possession a game-high nine times for Madrid against Granada, while he made three tackles and provided an assist.

Top of the table, Madrid's first game after the international break is a trip to Mallorca on October 19.

Zinedine Zidane is hopeful Eden Hazard can build on his impressive display after the Belgium forward got off the mark with his first goal for Real Madrid in Saturday's 4-2 win against Granada. 

Hazard opened his account with an impressive lob late in the first half of the top-of-the-table clash at the Santiago Bernabeu, doubling Madrid's tally after Karim Benzema had given them the lead inside two minutes. 

He also teed up Luka Modric for the goal of the game just after the hour mark, but the home side let their opponents back into the contest when Darwin Machis converted from the spot after Alphonse Areola brought down Carlos Fernandez. 

Domingos Duarte set up a tense finale with his close-range finish 13 minutes from time, only for James Rodriguez to kill off the comeback to move Madrid four points clear at the top of LaLiga. 

It was the performance of Hazard that was most encouraging for Zidane, though, the ex-Chelsea man having failed to score or assist in his first five matches. 

"We need to see Eden like this, playing well and scoring goals," Zidane told reporters. "He wanted that, he was happy in the dressing room. We hope it's the first of many for him." 

Zidane's men rested on their laurels when boasting a commanding lead and were nearly made to pay in a similar performance to their 3-2 win against Levante last month. 

"We should not compare with the Levante game," Zidane said. 

"Granada are second in the table - if you let them back into the game… we had 10-15 difficult minutes. But even the second half we controlled the game. And we scored the fourth. 

"We are better than a month ago. Each player that comes in plays their part. But I want more, and we will play better. 

"We are perfectionists. But it is not easy, there are no easy games. You must always play from minute one to 90." 

Granada have been the surprise package in LaLiga so far and head coach Diego Martinez hailed the way his side fought back. 

"I'm proud of the second-half performance," he said. "We can't be happy if we don't pick up any points, but this game will help us grow as a team. Lifting ourselves up after being 3-0 down, showing pride and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, our mistakes were punished." 

Eden Hazard has finally arrived at Real Madrid. The reported €100million signing opened his goalscoring account and got an assist on Saturday, helping unconvincing Los Blancos see off Granada 4-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Having played five matches before the visit of Diego Martinez's men and with only a yellow card to show for his efforts, pundits had been quick to point out the Belgium international's stuttering form.

There is no doubt Hazard's hamstring injury in August played a significant role in disrupting his start to life in Madrid, preventing him from playing the first few weeks of the season.

Yet, for all the understanding from some, Hazard had become a key conversation topic around the club, with questions dominating Zidane's news conferences.

To Zidane's credit, he had been quick to back Hazard – perhaps learning from his treatment of Gareth Bale – and even suggested there were parallels to his own start at the Bernabeu.

"I know [Hazard] is going to succeed here," Zidane said before Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw against Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.

"The same thing happened to me, this is why I'm very calm, I knew things would work out for me in time and it's the same with Hazard."

While Zidane is probably bending the truth with respect to his own start, having scored three times by the end of September in his first season at the club, it was a comment made to buy Hazard a little extra time – after all, Madrid's fans are infamous for their lack of patience.

Having again been underwhelming against Brugge, making just one key pass, Hazard still initially appeared rusty in the visit of Granada – allowing a defender the chance to get a foot in and tackle him when well placed to cut a ball back into the danger zone.

But in the 42nd minute a low cross almost found Bale, who wanted a penalty for an apparent foul by Carlos Neva, suggesting the Belgian was settling into the contest.

And his next involvement in stoppage time saw Hazard make the sort of impact he did so regularly with Chelsea, racing on to a throughball and nonchalantly lobbing Rui Silva to make it 2-0, adding to Karim Benzema's opener.

The relief on his face was soon replaced by unbridled joy – Sergio Ramos' reaction seeming to say, "About time!".

He followed that up in the second half with an assist, going on a mazy run on the left flank, before cutting back inside and teeing up Luka Modric, having drawn several defenders in.

Modric subsequently unleashed a ferocious strike into the top-left corner from 30 yards, taking full advantage of the space made for him.

No one will attempt to claim Hazard is back to his best on the back of this match – after all, he was generally quiet in the first half and he only got an assist because of Modric's excellence.

But after a sequence of below-par performances in which he offered precious little, Hazard has at least shown hints of his brilliance in a Madrid shirt for the first time.

And given Madrid's rather fragile mentality – as evidenced by the performances against Brugge, Levante, Real Valladolid and now Granada, who fought back from three goals down before James Rodriguez struck late on – Zidane needs Hazard in full stride as soon as possible.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas believes an early kick-off time for the Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid allows more people around the world to tune in.

The October 26 clash between the LaLiga rivals will take place at Camp Nou with a kick-off time of 13:00 CET (12:00 BST).

With both sides in Champions League action during the preceding week, Barca will have a day less recovery time than Madrid after returning from Slavia Prague.

Tebas indicated the decision to hold the Clasico early in the day was made with Asian television markets in mind.

"Now you put a Clasico at one o'clock and you can see it in more places across the world," he said on Friday.

"Our international work consists of that. If we don't put it at that time, in Asia they won't be able to watch it.

"It's Spanish football but it's no longer only for Spanish people. There are fans all over the world.

"In El Salvador they tell us that they will be sleeping on Saturday at one o'clock. We can't please everyone."

Tebas also responded to claims from the Spanish Football Federation that TV producers manipulated VAR images after Denis Cheryshev's goal was allowed to stand in Valencia's 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao.

"I found it outrageous. No one doubts the system or the arbitrators," he said.

"The assessment will be made at the end of the season. It has been seven days. We have to wait.

"It would be bold to say that the system worked better or worse than last season. It was exaggerated."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is facing a full-back shortage after the club confirmed that left-sided defender Marcelo has been sidelined by a hamstring strain.

The Brazil international played the second half of Madrid's 2-2 draw with Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday, coming on as a substitute for Nacho.

After the game, Nacho was taken to hospital for tests on his left knee, which revealed ligament damage and he is expected to be ruled out until Christmas while he recovers.

Zidane is unable to call upon France international Ferland Mendy to provide cover at left-back for Madrid's clash with Granada on Saturday as he is in recovery from a thigh injury.

Los Blancos' boss was even asked in his pre-match news conference whether Gareth Bale could deputise given his experience of playing in deeper roles over the years.

"The truth is that I have not thought of that at all," said Zidane, before pointing to right-footed Brazilian defender Eder Militao as a possible solution to the problem.

"We have other possibilities before that. [Militao] may be an alternative. He is a defender, he has played in this position, it is a possibility."

Zidane faced questions about goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was jeered by Madrid supporters before being replaced at half-time against Brugge by Alphonse Areola.

The club put out a statement to say that Courtois was ill during the match, to counter reports that he was replaced due to poor performance and anxiety.

Zidane offered words of support for Courtois, who kept three consecutive clean sheets prior to the Brugge game, but stopped short of confirming who would start in goal against Granada. 

"He was bad, yes," Zidane said of Courtois. "He was disturbed. It can happen, but a player can play in spite of that. But at the break, he was no longer able to play.

"Whistles, whether unfair or not, are like that. He is strong mentally. We know, internally, that the fault is collective in the first period against Brugge.

"I have 25 players, I count on each one of them. Thibaut Courtois is one of them. People can talk, have their opinion, about what happened on Tuesday. But the three games before, it was Courtois in goal and we did not concede any goals.

"No one is indisputable, neither Courtois nor anyone. [Areola] is a great keeper, like Thibaut. He is very good, and that's it. We have two good goalkeepers who play and that's it."

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