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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the Spanish league match against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on January 13, 2018

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the Spanish league match against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on January 13, 2018

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the Spanish league match against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on January 13, 2018

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the Spanish league match against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on January 13, 2018 (AFP Photo/Gabriel Bouys )

Michael Olunga makes La Liga Team of the Week

Olunga also became the first Kenyan to score in the top Spanish league

Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele (left) in action against Levante during a Spanish league match at the Camp Nou stadium on January 7, 2018

Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele (left) in action against Levante during a Spanish league match at the Camp Nou stadium on January 7, 2018

Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele (left) in action against Levante during a Spanish league match at the Camp Nou stadium on January 7, 2018 (AFP Photo/Josep LAGO)

Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele (left) in action against Levante during a Spanish league match at the Camp Nou stadium on January 7, 2018

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane reacts during the Spanish league match against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on January 13, 2018

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane reacts during the Spanish league match against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on January 13, 2018 (AFP Photo/Gabriel BOUYS)

Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals (C) celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on January 13, 2018

Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals (C) celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on January 13, 2018 (AFP Photo/Gabriel BOUYS)

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane reacts during the Spanish league match against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on January 13, 2018

Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals (C) celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on January 13, 2018

Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals (C) celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on January 13, 2018

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane reacts during the Spanish league match against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on January 13, 2018

Spanish club Malaga fires Gonzalez after 4th straight loss

Malaga fired coach Michel Gonzalez after the team's fourth straight loss in the Spanish league.

Spanish club Malaga fires Gonzalez after 4th straight loss

Malaga fired coach Michel Gonzalez after the team's fourth straight loss in the Spanish league.

Spanish club Malaga fires Gonzalez after 4th straight loss

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 file photo, Malaga's coach Michel Gonzalez looks on prior of the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Malaga at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain.Malaga has fired coach Michel Gonzalez after the team's fourth straight loss in the Spanish league, it was reported on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 file photo, Malaga's coach Michel Gonzalez looks on prior of the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Malaga at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain.Malaga has fired coach Michel Gonzalez after the team's fourth straight loss in the Spanish league, it was reported on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

Ronaldo in action

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo heads the ball during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid and Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid (AFP Photo/GABRIEL BOUYS )

Zidane Reveals He Has Signed New Deal But Admits Contract 'Means Nothing' as Poor Form Continues

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed he has signed a new contract with the Spanish and European champions, though admitted following Wednesday night's draw with Numancia that his deal "means nothing". Los Blancos have consistently faltered under the French coach so far this season, even while ​Real have swept up two consecutive Champions League titles and beat ​Barcelona to the domestic crown last year. Real sit a mammoth 16 points behind the Spanish league leaders at the...

Zidane Reveals He Has Signed New Deal But Admits Contract 'Means Nothing' as Poor Form Continues

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed he has signed a new contract with the Spanish and European champions, though admitted following Wednesday night's draw with Numancia that his deal "means nothing". Los Blancos have consistently faltered under the French coach so far this season, even while ​Real have swept up two consecutive Champions League titles and beat ​Barcelona to the domestic crown last year. Real sit a mammoth 16 points behind the Spanish league leaders at the...

Zidane Reveals He Has Signed New Deal But Admits Contract 'Means Nothing' as Poor Form Continues

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed he has signed a new contract with the Spanish and European champions, though admitted following Wednesday night's draw with Numancia that his deal "means nothing". Los Blancos have consistently faltered under the French coach so far this season, even while ​Real have swept up two consecutive Champions League titles and beat ​Barcelona to the domestic crown last year. Real sit a mammoth 16 points behind the Spanish league leaders at the...

Real Madrid's midfielder Lucas Vazquez kicks the ball during the Spanish league football match against Celta de Vigo January 7, 2018

Real Madrid's midfielder Lucas Vazquez kicks the ball during the Spanish league football match against Celta de Vigo January 7, 2018

Real Madrid's midfielder Lucas Vazquez kicks the ball during the Spanish league football match against Celta de Vigo January 7, 2018 (AFP Photo/MIGUEL RIOPA)

La Liga: Philippe Coutinho meets Barcelona teammates after making 160 million move from Liverpool

Coutinho, who has signed a contract until 2023 with the runaway Spanish league leaders, played alongside Suarez at Liverpool until the Uruguayan made the same move in 2014.

Total Football Podcast: Cup magic smites Arsenal, Leeds and Mark Hughes

The FA Cup third round looked to be heading for a 6/10 overall rating until Nottingham Forest knocked out the holders in a classic at the City Ground. Broadcaster Kait Borsay joins Total Football host Thom Gibbs to analyse the generous slate of weekend games including Mark Hughes's final indignity in charge of Stoke City. Jason Burt speaks to the podcast about his exclusive on Philippe Coutinho's sale to Barcelona, pondering how Jurgen Klopp might spend the money and how Coutinho will fit in at the Spanish league leaders. Finally injury data analyst Ben Dinnery joins to give us his expert opinion on which Premier League clubs are best at managing their players to avoid injuries, and what's really to blame for hamstring-related sadness at this time of year. Here's how to listen: iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1266640345 Android - http://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/feed/ (link must be pasted into a podcast app) Online - https://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/

He shoots, he scores

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez (R) celebrates a goal during his side's Spanish league football match against Levante UD at the Camp Nou in Barcelona (AFP Photo/Josep LAGO)

Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa (L) is shown a red card after celebrating a goal during the Spanish league match against Getafe

Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa (L) is shown a red card after celebrating a goal during the Spanish league match against Getafe

Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa (L) is shown a red card after celebrating a goal during the Spanish league match against Getafe

Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa (L) is shown a red card after celebrating a goal during the Spanish league match against Getafe (AFP Photo/OSCAR DEL POZO)

WATCH: Diego Costa Scores Again, Sent Off in Second Game Back With Atletico

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Diego Costa was sent off after celebrating a goal that helped Atletico Madrid beat Getafe 2-0 in his second match back at the club on Saturday.

Costa already had one booking for elbowing a Getafe player when he tapped in Atletico's second goal in the 68th minute. He ran around the net and to the edge of the stands where he was embraced by thrilled fans, earning him a second booking.

The goal was Costa's second in as many appearances since making his return to Atletico from Chelsea. He scored as a substitute on Wednesday to help it ease to a 4-0 victory at Lleida in the Copa del Rey's round-of-16.

Despite not having played a match since June, the Brazilian-born Spain striker has shown no rust from his long layoff while waiting for Atletico's yearlong ban on new players to expire last week.

The victory allowed second-place Atletico to move to within six points of Spanish league leader Barcelona, which hosts Levante on Sunday.

Costa curled a shot onto the top of the net and went close to setting up Antoine Griezmann before the France forward assisted Angel Correa for the hosts' opener in the 18th.

Besides providing added punch to Atletico's attack, Costa also showed the same knack for rattling rivals with his aggressive attitude and physical play.

Costa had to be separated from Getafe's Juan Cala when the two exchanged words after the halftime whistle, and he was booked for elbowing Dakonam Djene when they contested a ball in the 62nd.

Then came his goal, a cool side-footed shot to slot Sime Vrsaljko's low cross just into the post, followed by his excessive celebration.

Costa's sending-off means he will miss next round's trip to Eibar.

Costa helped Chelsea win the English Premier league title last season before he fell out of favor with coach Antonio Conte.

Messi Sets Barcelona Escape Clause in Case Catalonia Secedes

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi runs wit the ball during the Spanish League "Clasico" football match Real Madrid CF vs FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / OSCAR DEL POZO (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

The Hardest Workers Don't Do the Best Work

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) and Deportivo La Coruna's Swiss defender Fabian Schaer eye the ball during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against RC Deportivo de la Coruna at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on December 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 file photo, FC Barcelona's coach Ernesto Valverde smiles during a training session at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi. In his first four months as Barcelona’s coach, Valverde has helped the team recover from the shock exit of Brazil star Neymar in the summer and take a commanding lead of the Spanish league. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

Defender Dani Carvajal insists Real Madrid can still win the Spanish league, despite the 3-0 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona that left them 14 points adrift in the La Liga title race

Defender Dani Carvajal insists Real Madrid can still win the Spanish league, despite the 3-0 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona that left them 14 points adrift in the La Liga title race (AFP Photo/JAVIER SORIANO)

Defender Dani Carvajal insists Real Madrid can still win the Spanish league, despite the 3-0 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona that left them 14 points adrift in the La Liga title race

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane pictured during the Spanish League "El Clasico" match against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 23, 2017

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane pictured during the Spanish League "El Clasico" match against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 23, 2017 (AFP Photo/Oscar DEL POZO)

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane pictured during the Spanish League "El Clasico" match against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 23, 2017

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane pictured during the Spanish League "El Clasico" match against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 23, 2017

Forget Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi - this El Clasico has far greater political subplots

Few, if any, of the 235 instalments of El Clasico have been as thick with political tension as tomorrow’s pre-Christmas brawl at the Bernabeu. After a year in which the fabric of a nation has threatened to be rent asunder, this is one collision of Real Madrid and Barcelona where, no matter where you live in Spain, neutrality is not an option. For once, the dominant subplot is not Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi, but the Viva Espana-chanting Madridistas versus their restive, independence-chasing counterparts from Catalonia. The traditional tug-of-war between nationalism and separatism, elevated to visceral levels, is one replicated at every level of the two clubs, not least between the captains. While Gerard Pique, Barcelona’s leader, has avowed that he would be willing to forfeit his place in the Spanish national team to defend Catalans’ right to vote in a referendum to secede, Sergio Ramos, his opposite number, has expressed distaste over the discord. “As a Spaniard, I don’t like what is happening,” Ramos said. The timing is acutely sensitive. Tomorrow’s confrontation has been moved to an unusual kick-off at lunchtime before Christmas Eve, so as to maximise the television audience in Asia, but it comes a mere 48 hours after secessionist parties in Catalonia declared victory having secured an absolute majority in the regional parliament. For years, crowds at the Nou Camp have burst into song in the 17th minute of each match, to mark the fall of Catalonia in the Spanish War of Succession in 1714, and this same undercurrent of unrest looks likely to spill over into the capital tomorrow. When El Clasico meets politics, the result is usually an occasion committed to posterity. In 1975, with emotions across the land still raw after General Franco, an 89th-minute winner for Barcelona by Carlos Rexach, the man who would later sign Messi, was heralded by a wave of Catalan flags. It is recorded in the club’s official history as the most “wanted, dreamt-of and applauded victory”. The same fervour was evident in 2012, as Ronaldo and Messi each scored twice in a 2-2 draw in the days after a protest that brought 1.5 million pro-independence protestors on to the streets of Barcelona. As the pot continues to boil after this week’s elections, Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, is implacable in his view that Barcelona cannot be allowed to play in the Spanish league if independence goes ahead. That stance is widely understood to be connected to his own political convictions, given Tebas attended a nationalist march earlier this year. Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’s president, has sought to assuage alarm over the prospect, arguing: “I can’t contemplate a Spain without Catalonia, nor La Liga without Barca.” Barcelona fans wave Catalan flags at the Nou Camp Credit: reuters Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona’s manager, was also keen to assume the role of peacemaker on Friday. Asked about the potential for a toxic atmosphere in Madrid, in light of events at the ballot box, he said: “It’s been a month or so without a question about that. I’ve missed it. We’re a football club – we want to make all our fans happy, whatever they voted.” So far, Barcelona’s pedigree this season has been a recipe for supporter happiness all round. They stand 11 points clear of their sworn adversaries already, an advantage that no team at the same stage has ever overturned, even if Real have a game in hand after winning the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi – an achievement for which, Pique has made clear, they are not about to offer a guard of honour. Through it all, Pique has been a model of calmness. After his tearful comments in the wake of violence triggered in October by the referendum, when Barcelona played out a 3-0 victory over Las Palmas behind closed doors, he has marshalled a formidable resurgence and is not the type to be cowed by any brickbats at the Bernabeu, having once likened the whistles to a “celestial choir”. Barcelona will have to reckon, though, with a revived Ronaldo, who returned to full training on Friday after three days of training alone to shake off a calf injury. Just try keeping him away from this one: Ronaldo, who has a record of saving his best for a Clasico, with 17 goals in 17 meetings, taking him within one of Alfredo di Stefano’s record. Doubts have been raised about his domestic form of late, although a return of 16 goals is hardly a disgrace for a player who has served a five-game ban for shoving a referee, a punishment he labelled “incomprehensible”. Barcelona players pose for a team photo wearing shirts in the colours of the Catalan flag Now, though, Ronaldo must deliver on the preening sentiment of an interview he gave to France Football after his fifth Ballon d’Or, when he boasted: “I am the best player in history, in both good and bad times.” Tomorrow will test whether that claim is valid in tumultuous times, too.  

Forget Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi - this El Clasico has far greater political subplots

Few, if any, of the 235 instalments of El Clasico have been as thick with political tension as tomorrow’s pre-Christmas brawl at the Bernabeu. After a year in which the fabric of a nation has threatened to be rent asunder, this is one collision of Real Madrid and Barcelona where, no matter where you live in Spain, neutrality is not an option. For once, the dominant subplot is not Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi, but the Viva Espana-chanting Madridistas versus their restive, independence-chasing counterparts from Catalonia. The traditional tug-of-war between nationalism and separatism, elevated to visceral levels, is one replicated at every level of the two clubs, not least between the captains. While Gerard Pique, Barcelona’s leader, has avowed that he would be willing to forfeit his place in the Spanish national team to defend Catalans’ right to vote in a referendum to secede, Sergio Ramos, his opposite number, has expressed distaste over the discord. “As a Spaniard, I don’t like what is happening,” Ramos said. The timing is acutely sensitive. Tomorrow’s confrontation has been moved to an unusual kick-off at lunchtime before Christmas Eve, so as to maximise the television audience in Asia, but it comes a mere 48 hours after secessionist parties in Catalonia declared victory having secured an absolute majority in the regional parliament. For years, crowds at the Nou Camp have burst into song in the 17th minute of each match, to mark the fall of Catalonia in the Spanish War of Succession in 1714, and this same undercurrent of unrest looks likely to spill over into the capital tomorrow. When El Clasico meets politics, the result is usually an occasion committed to posterity. In 1975, with emotions across the land still raw after General Franco, an 89th-minute winner for Barcelona by Carlos Rexach, the man who would later sign Messi, was heralded by a wave of Catalan flags. It is recorded in the club’s official history as the most “wanted, dreamt-of and applauded victory”. The same fervour was evident in 2012, as Ronaldo and Messi each scored twice in a 2-2 draw in the days after a protest that brought 1.5 million pro-independence protestors on to the streets of Barcelona. As the pot continues to boil after this week’s elections, Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, is implacable in his view that Barcelona cannot be allowed to play in the Spanish league if independence goes ahead. That stance is widely understood to be connected to his own political convictions, given Tebas attended a nationalist march earlier this year. Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’s president, has sought to assuage alarm over the prospect, arguing: “I can’t contemplate a Spain without Catalonia, nor La Liga without Barca.” Barcelona fans wave Catalan flags at the Nou Camp Credit: reuters Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona’s manager, was also keen to assume the role of peacemaker on Friday. Asked about the potential for a toxic atmosphere in Madrid, in light of events at the ballot box, he said: “It’s been a month or so without a question about that. I’ve missed it. We’re a football club – we want to make all our fans happy, whatever they voted.” So far, Barcelona’s pedigree this season has been a recipe for supporter happiness all round. They stand 11 points clear of their sworn adversaries already, an advantage that no team at the same stage has ever overturned, even if Real have a game in hand after winning the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi – an achievement for which, Pique has made clear, they are not about to offer a guard of honour. Through it all, Pique has been a model of calmness. After his tearful comments in the wake of violence triggered in October by the referendum, when Barcelona played out a 3-0 victory over Las Palmas behind closed doors, he has marshalled a formidable resurgence and is not the type to be cowed by any brickbats at the Bernabeu, having once likened the whistles to a “celestial choir”. Barcelona will have to reckon, though, with a revived Ronaldo, who returned to full training on Friday after three days of training alone to shake off a calf injury. Just try keeping him away from this one: Ronaldo, who has a record of saving his best for a Clasico, with 17 goals in 17 meetings, taking him within one of Alfredo di Stefano’s record. Doubts have been raised about his domestic form of late, although a return of 16 goals is hardly a disgrace for a player who has served a five-game ban for shoving a referee, a punishment he labelled “incomprehensible”. Barcelona players pose for a team photo wearing shirts in the colours of the Catalan flag Now, though, Ronaldo must deliver on the preening sentiment of an interview he gave to France Football after his fifth Ballon d’Or, when he boasted: “I am the best player in history, in both good and bad times.” Tomorrow will test whether that claim is valid in tumultuous times, too.