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Real Madrid

Sub for Isco understandable

Real Madrid
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Real MadridReal Madrid
VillarrealVillarreal
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Ronaldo, Bale set to return

Real Madrid
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Ancelotti replacing Isco with Illarramendi an understandable call

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

The knives were out for manager Carlo Ancelotti after Real Madrid's 1-1 draw Sunday night against an under-strength Villarreal side. Madrid had not dropped league points on home soil since losing to Atletico Madrid in September and were up against a side fielding their second string in all but name.

Top scorer Luciano Vietto was rested, captain Bruno Soriano was injured and creative spark Denis Cheryshev was not allowed to play against his parent club, owing to the terms of his loan deal. Marcelino...

 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...

What happened to Jese at Real? Plus: Atletico's indiscipline could be costly

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

Such is my regard for what he achieves and, in almost equal proportion, how he goes about achieving his triumphs, it's rare that I'm motivated to criticise Carlo Ancelotti -- but it's appropriate right now.

First of all he bears some direct responsibility for Madrid not sneaking Sunday night's game against Villarreal 2-1 and sitting four points ahead of Barcelona with three weeks to go until el Clasico at the Camp Nou. With just a handful of minutes left, Sergio Asenjo pawed at a cross from the...

Toni Kroos happy with more responsible role at 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.
ESPN FC's Tommy Smyth breaks down Real Madrid's 1-1 draw with Villarreal.

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has revealed he has more defensive responsibilities than at previous clubs, and he enjoys providing the "balance" at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Former Bayern Munich star Kroos swapped clubs with Xabi Alonso last summer, and immediately settled into the deep-lying midfield 'pivot' role in Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti's preferred 4-3-3 system.

Kroos, 25, was a regular scorer for previous clubs Bayern and Bayer Leverkusen, at a rate of almost a goal every five...