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 By Rob Train

Mayoral proving he can take Morata's place backing up Benzema in Madrid

The FC crew evaluate Real Madrid's win over Sociedad, including Gareth Bale's goal and the emergence of Borja Mayoral.

Speaking before Real Madrid's 3-1 victory in Anoeta, Zinedine Zidane expressed his faith in Karim Benzema's understudy, Borja Mayoral. That faith manifested itself in a first start of the season for the 20-year-old striker and Zidane reaped his reward as Mayoral scored one and forced a second off Sociedad defender Kevin Rodrigues, handing his side a 2-1 lead at the break.

Mayoral might not have been in Zidane's line-up at all but for the late withdrawal of Toni Kroos from the squad, forcing the...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: Ronaldo set to make La Liga return, Manuel Neuer ruled out

Ernesto Valverde says inexperience played a part in the injury that has sidelined Ousmane Dembele for the next four months.

Tuesday's latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC's What's Trending...

REAL MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo is finally set to play his first La Liga game of the season against Real Betis on Wednesday, with coach Zinedine Zidane "happy" to have him back in the side.

- Zinedine Zidane has rejected the suggestion that Gareth Bale is only effective on the counter-attack and backed him to get back to top form.

- Flamengo coach Reinaldo Rueda says Vinicius Junior has reacted well to...

Do Real Madrid need to sign a backup No. 9 or is Borja Mayoral enough?

Zinedine Zidane reflects on Gareth's Bale's goal and performance in Real Madrid's 3-1 win at Real Sociedad.
The FC crew evaluate Real Madrid's win over Sociedad, including Gareth Bale's goal and the emergence of Borja Mayoral.

"You can say we lack a No. 9, and maybe we do," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said last week, after the club's usual centre-forward Karim Benzema was ruled out for a month with a hamstring problem, following Cristiano Ronaldo's five-game suspension for pushing a referee.

Speaking ahead of the Champions League holders' return to the competition, Zidane went on to explain that he had hoped last year's backup option Alvaro Morata would stay, and then more or less confirmed that when the Spain striker...

Ernesto Valverde must aim to match Zinedine Zidane level in La Liga

Ernesto Valverde says inexperience played a part in the injury that has sidelined Ousmane Dembele for the next four months.

Such has been Zinedine Zidane's "Midas" touch since taking over at Real Madrid in January 2016 that any club wishing to wrest La Liga or the Champions League will need to have a coach who wins one-vs.-one battles with the Frenchman -- before and during matches.

That goes for Diego Simeone, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, Unai Emery and, particularly, Ernesto Valverde because they comprise the only other managers, whose teams I can conceive of conquering Europe this season (Simeone and...

Borja Mayoral, Theo Hernandez repay Zinedine Zidane's faith for Real Madrid

The FC crew evaluate Real Madrid's win over Sociedad, including Gareth Bale's goal and the emergence of Borja Mayoral.

This was a classic "trap" game. Real Madrid traveled to San Sebastian to face high-flying Real Sociedad without Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema, Mateo Kovacic and Cristiano Ronaldo. Spotting your opponents four starters and your most reliable reserve midfielder is not fun. Many expected Zinedine Zidane to conjure up some formation with Gareth Bale or Marco Asensio playing through the middle; instead, he put his faith in a 20-year-old, Borja Mayoral, who had seen just 14 minutes on the pitch before...

 By Matt McGinn

Mayoral, Bale, Isco instrumental as Real grab big win at Sociedad

Borja Mayoral and Gareth Bale found the net for Real Madrid in an away victory over Real Sociedad.
After dropping points in two of their last league matches, Real plucked out a win, even with much of their starts benched.
After dropping points in two of their last league matches, Real plucked out a win, even with much of their starts benched.

Real Madrid secured their 11th consecutive away victory in La Liga with a commanding 3-1 win at high-flying Real Sociedad. Borja Mayoral nabbed the ball off Sergio Ramos' toe to open the scoring after 19 minutes. La Real equalised through Kevin Rodrigues just 10 minutes later, but Real Madrid went in at half-time with a 2-1 advantage.

Rodrigues was the protagonist again. In a frenetic, 30-second spell, he hit the bar and then turned the ball into his own net after superb play by Mayoral. Gareth...