Goal.com - Home

thumbnail Hello,
September 1, 2013 8:00 PM EST
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu — Madrid
Referee:‬ Clos Gómez‎
Attendance:‬ 72231‎
26′ Isco
Ibai Gómez 79′
72′ Isco

Real Madrid-Athletic Bilbao Preview: Both sides look to build on perfect starts

Carlo Ancelotti has taken maximum points from his opening Liga games and the capital club possess a fearsome record against the Basques

By James Willoughby


Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao go in to Sunday's La Liga fixture in the Spanish capital looking to continue their perfect starts.

Both sides have won their first two matches of the 2013-14 campaign, with new Real manager Carlo Ancelotti overseeing triumphs against Real Betis and Granada.

Frenchman Karim Benzema has netted in both of those victories, while Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo has not scored this season amid reports linking him with a return to Manchester United.

Ronaldo's failure to score on the last day of the 2012-13 season means that he has played three successive league fixtures for Real without finding the net.

The last time Ronaldo did not score for three successive La Liga games came back in February 2011, but he duly responded with a hat-trick against Malaga, posing an ominous warning for Athletic.

While the reports linking Gareth Bale to Real Madrid continue, Ancelotti is still short of genuine firepower up front following Gonzalo Higuain's departure to Napoli.

The move is likely to be sealed before the English transfer window closes on September 2, though.

Athletic have also started well, winning 2-1 at Real Valladolid before posting a 2-0 home success against Osasuna.

While they lost experienced pair Fernando Llorente and Fernando Amorebieta in the close-season, manager Ernesto Valverde added the likes of Benat Etxebarria, Kike Sola and Mikel Rico to their squad.

Whether midfielder Ander Herrera features is sure to be a talking point, with Athletic revealing on Friday that they had rejected a €30million bid for their star man.

The offer is widely reported to have come from Manchester United, who have seen attempts to sign fellow midfielders Cesc Fabregas, Marouane Fellaini and Thiago Alcantara fail to come to fruition.

Athletic president Josu Urrutia said on Friday: "There is an offer for Ander Herrera. For a player to go first the player has to express his desire to leave the club.

"Herrera has not told us he wants to go, and we have said we do not negotiate for our players."

The 24-year-old playmaker joined Athletic from Real Zaragoza in 2011.

Xabi Alonso (foot) is sidelined until the end of November and his absence will hurt Real, but they will take confidence from their impressive record in recent years against Athletic.

Of the last 16 La Liga encounters between the two sides, Real have won 15 of them, with Athletic's sole triumph coming in January 2010 when Fernando Llorente headed the winner.

In those matches, Real have scored 51 goals and conceded just 12 in the process.

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ 03/02/2014 Athletic de Bilbao 1 - Real Madrid CF 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ 01/09/2013 Real Madrid CF 3 - Athletic de Bilbao 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ 15/04/2013 Athletic de Bilbao 0 - Real Madrid CF 3
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ 18/11/2012 Real Madrid CF 5 - Athletic de Bilbao 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ 03/05/2012 Athletic de Bilbao 0 - Real Madrid CF 3
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
25Diego López RodríguezGoalkeeper
4Sergio RamosDefender
6Sami KhediraMidfielder
19Luka ModricMidfielder
22Ángel Di MaríaMidfielder
7Cristiano RonaldoStriker
9Karim BenzemaStriker
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
15Daniel CarvajalDefender
18Nacho FernándezDefender
11Mesut ÖzilMidfielder
24Asier IllarramendiMidfielder
20Jesé RodríguezStriker
4Aymeric LaporteDefender
15Andoni IraolaDefender
17Mikel RicoMidfielder
18Carlos GurpeguiMidfielder
20Aritz Aduriz ZubeldiaStriker
6Mikel San José DomínguezDefender
5Erik MoránMidfielder
21Ander HerreraMidfielder
10Óscar De MarcosMidfielder
11Ibai GómezStriker
Players to Watch
Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
32 17 2 0
Ander Herrera
Ander Herrera
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 21
Games Goals YC RC
29 3 6 0
Editor's Prediction
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Atl. Madrid
27 5
Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
26 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
17 0