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 By Rob Train

Real Madrid ready to test their sparking form vs. Athletic Bilbao

Real Madrid's attack is impressing ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno, despite Cristiano Ronaldo's struggles early in the season.
After signing a new contract with Real Madrid, Luka Modric says it's time he finally wins La Liga with the club.

Real Madrid host Athletic Bilbao in the Bernabeu on Sunday in a match that will truly test the mettle of Zinedine Zidane's Plan B in the absence of injured key players Sergio Ramos, Casemiro and Luka Modric.

Victory at Real Betis set Zidane's side back on track in La Liga after three consecutive draws, but Gus Poyet's Betis side were more than accommodating hosts, and the Uruguayan still hasn't come to grips with his side's obvious defensive frailty, calling into question his choice to mirror...

 By Sid Lowe

Valencia vs. Barca, Sevilla vs. Atletico, Real vs. Bilbao: La Liga's big weekend

La Liga features several top six match-ups this weekend. Find out who comes out on top in our La Liga predictor.

Between them, they have won the last 16 league titles and 80 of the 85 in Spanish football history. They account for the last 10 Copa del Rey winners and 18 of the last 20 finalists, only Getafe getting in there with them eight long years ago. They have won the last three Champions Leagues and the last three Europa League too. In fact, they account for five of the last six Champions League finalists as well five of the last seven and eight of the last thirteen UEFA Cup/Europa League winners. Five...

Real Madrid assembly should highlight the club's democracy but likely won't

After signing a new contract with Real Madrid, Luka Modric says it's time he finally wins La Liga with the club.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez rarely misses a chance to talk in public about how his own role is solely to be the guardian of an institution that is owned and controlled by its members. Just last week, at the announcement of some court-mandated changes to a €400 million project to redevelop Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Perez once again stressed that Madrid's socios made the important decisions at the club.

"Our club has some everlasting values," Perez told the assembled...

Zidane can't ignore Real Madrid's lack of balance with tougher times ahead

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane says his side played in an especially attacking style in their 5-1 win.
The ESPN FC crew debate whether a 5-1 win over Legia Warsaw in the Champions League is sign of better things to come for Real Madrid.

Real Madrid conceded just two goals in their first 11 official matches in 2014-15. At the same point this campaign, that number has risen to 13, or more than one per game.

Not that any Real Madrid fan wants to go back to the Rafa Benitez regime by any stretch of the imagination, but those numbers indeed show that there is something off in the way Zinedine Zidane's team have defended since the season started.

Some reasons behind the numbers are easy to identify: Sergio Ramos' poor form has led to...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Cristiano Ronaldo dons a face mask as part of his post-game routine

24 hours after helping Real Madrid to a 5-1 Champions League win against Legia Warsaw, Cristiano Ronaldo took to Instagram to let his many millions of fans know what he does on the day after a game.

You might say that there's no "masking" what the Portuguese superstar is up to!


A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

As for how long he wore...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: Man City boss Pep Guardiola wanted Marc-Andre ter Stegen

The past meets the present on Wednesday, as Pep heads back to the Nou Camp - this time in charge of Manchester City.
The 2015 UCL semifinals pitted Pep Guardiola's Bayern against former club Barcelona, here's a look back at the tense match.
Luis Enrique says playing against his former Barca teammate is an incentive, but ultimately the players decide their fate.
Gerard Pique says Man City are a much different team under Pep Guardiola than previous City teams they've faced.

Here are the latest stories for Wednesday.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Pep Guardiola says he will try to take on Barcelona at their own game in Wednesday's Champions League clash at Camp Nou. 

- Pep Guardiola has admitted he tried to sign Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the summer but denied making moves for Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets -- although he said he would be keen on Messi if he decides to move to England. 

- Manchester City are set to measure up against...