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Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid 'suffer' but beat Athletic Bilbao

Sometimes managers like talking about "knowing how to suffer." To some, it's a throwaway phrase; with others, you sort of understand.

Zinedine Zidane said Real Madrid "suffered tremendously" against Athletic Bilbao but still came away with the 2-1 victory because they showed "personality." If you watched the game, you know what he means.

Things got tough and then they got ugly and still, Real Madrid hung in there. They did it against a team that had not lost at him since August. They did it against an opponent roared on by a partisan crowd that treated the game like a combination Champions League final/Hunger Games round. They did it with Luka Modric looking pedestrian and Gareth Bale looking ethereal.

But Keylor Navas bounced back after a week of criticism. Cristiano Ronaldo did his job, and more. Casemiro offered his N'Golo Kante impression (and scored, too). And Karim Benzema showed why -- regardless of whether he gets on the scoresheet or not, and he did at Nuevo San Mames -- he is so important to this team.

Looking at the fixture list, this looked like the toughest Liga road trip between now and the end of the season and they passed this test as well.

Suffering? Yeah, that's what champions know how to do.

To read more of Gabriele Marcotti's thoughts on what happened over the previous week, click here.

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