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Real Madrid

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Ronaldo, Bale set to return

Real Madrid
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 By Rob Train

Ancelotti's "untouchables" stance isn't helping Real Madrid

ESPN FC's Gabriele Marcotti breaks down Real Madrid's draw to Villarreal, and what that means for the La Liga title race.

You can't really fault Carlo Ancelotti's tenure at Real Madrid. Delivering the Decima guaranteed plenty of leeway at the club, and galvanizing the squad after the fractious reign of predecessor Jose Mourinho was exactly why the affable Italian was hired. Real lead the league table going into March, are very much in the running to retain their European crown and by and large the players are focused entirely on the good of the collective. After less than two seasons at the Bernabeu, it really is...

Ancelotti defends Isco in Madrid draw with Villarreal; Barca back in business

ESPN FC's Gabriele Marcotti breaks down Real Madrid's draw to Villarreal, and what that means for the La Liga title race.

Five thoughts gleaned from La Liga's weekend fixtures, as Real Madrid were held by Villarreal at the Bernabeu, while Barcelona continued to bounce back with a win over Granada, and Atletico were held by European-chasing Sevilla.

1. Isco not an untouchable galactico just yet

Real Madrid remain La Liga leaders after their 1-1 draw at home to Villarreal on Sunday night, but the game again showed how Isco has a ways to go before being confirmed as first choice for coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Pregame praise...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Carlo Ancelotti stands behind decision to sub off Isco in Real Madrid draw

ESPN FC's Tommy Smyth breaks down Real Madrid's 1-1 draw with Villarreal.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was in no mood to apologise for removing midfielder Isco from his side's 1-1 draw with Villarreal on Sunday.

The Italian manager subbed off the popular Spanish international for more defensive-minded midfielder Asier Illarramendi with 10 minutes remaining and Real in search of a winning goal.

Speaking to the media after the game, the coach stood firm behind his decision.

Real MadridReal Madrid
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"A coach makes the changes he believes are best for his team. If the fans don't understand [the...

Casillas keeps Real from suffering Villarreal surprise at the Bernabeu

ESPN FC's Tommy Smyth breaks down Real Madrid's 1-1 draw with Villarreal.

Real Madrid's lead at the top of La Liga has been cut to two points after Carlo Ancelotti's men were forced to accept their first league draw of the season, 1-1, against a much-changed but equally-impressive Villarreal side at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night.

Gerardo Moreno's second-half leveller secured the Yellow Submarine a point and ensured Madrid were no longer than only side in La Liga without a draw to their name. Cristiano Ronaldo had fired the hosts ahead in the 52nd minute from...