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Wednesday, Jul 15th

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Real Madrid booked a place in the Champions League final despite their 1-2 defeat in the semi-final return leg to Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium.

A close range goal from Isco on the break of half-time was vital in easing Real Madrid into the final on 4-2 aggregate after a blistering start by their rivals, who won 2-1 here on Wednesday night.

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Tensions are likely to run high on Wednesday when Atletico Madrid look to overturn a 0-3 deficit at home to Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Last Tuesday saw Real Madrid produce a convincing display and Cristiano Ronaldo score a hat-trick against an Atletico side that was almost unrecognisable to the team that is usually so hard to beat.

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Defending champions FC Barcelona and arch-rivals Real Madrid maintained the status quo in the battle for the La Liga title as both sides clinched wins which left them neck-and-neck in the title race.

Barcelona on Saturday had to work hard to eventually claim a comfortable win at home against Villarreal, who are battling for a top-four finish themselves. Real Madrid meanwhile pounded already-relegated Granada 4-0 away as they took their points tally to 84 points - same as Barcelona having played a match less than the Catalans, who are ahead on better goal difference.

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French football sensation Kylian Mbappe has reportedly agreed to join record European champions Real Madrid from Monaco this summer in a transfer fee that could exceed 100 million euros (around $110 million).

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Mbappe agreed to the transfer and the reason was Madrid's French head coach Zinedine Zidane, something the 18-year-old forward appreciates.

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Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has asserted his team's 3-0 thrashing of city rivals Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions Leg semi-finals is one of the best performances during his tenure.

Real rode on a hat-trick by star forward Cristiano Ronaldo to register a comprehensive win in front of their home crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday night.

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Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone refused to accept defeat following the 0-3 Champions League semi-final first leg loss away to Real Madrid which left his side's chances of reaching a second successive final in tatters. Portugese forward Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick on Tuesday to give Real Madrid a foot in the final and to leave Atletico with a seemingly impossible task as they look to overturn the deficit in front of their fans next week.

However, despite the size of the task and the fact his side failed to muster a shot on target on Tuesday night, Simeone was in a bullish mood.

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Real Madrid got over the disappointment of losing at home in last weekend's Clasico by thrashing Deportivo 6-2, making sure the prospects of the La Liga title remain within their reach. The victory on Wednesday night, achieved without stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, puts Real level on points with Barcelona with one game in hand.

It took Real Madrid less than a minute to take the lead over Deportivo, with Alvaro Morata crashing a rising drive in at the near post.

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