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Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale both injury doubts for Real Madrid this weekend

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Bad news for Los Merengues.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

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Real Madrid have a claim to being the best team in the world when they're healthy. Unfortunately, they're struggling to do that early in the season. After this week's Champions League match, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have come away with fitness concerns. They could both be rested against Espanyol this weekend.

Bale sustained a hip injury against Sporting, while Madrid is being extra cautious with Ronaldo's recovery from a knee injury. While neither injury is serious, it's not a good sign that Bale picks up knocks as often as he does, while Ronaldo's body didn't have a good reaction to playing 90 minutes for the first time since he hurt his knee.

Goal of the day

Alexandre Pato's strike for Villarreal in Europa League. (r/soccer)

In the news

Megan Rapinoe protested the national anthem on Thursday and U.S. Soccer's statement missed the point.

Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller and David Alaba could sit out this weekend due to a stomach virus. (Bild)

France Football is ending their Ballon d'Or partnership with FIFA. (Football Italia)

Hull City has offered interim boss Mike Phelan the permanent manager's job. (BBC)

Real Madrid's youth players affected by FIFA sanctions can continue to play while the club's appeal is being heard by CAS. (Real Madrid CF)

Joey Barton was sent home by Rangers after an argument at training. (Guardian)

Sergio Aguero is set to sign a new contract at Manchester City. (ESPN FC)

Valencia's Ezequiel Garay will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury. (AS)

You should be reading

Francesca Morini on Sassuolo's connection with their fans and those fans' hope that success won't change them. (Unusual Efforts)

Dave Fox on Leicester and other underdog champions the season after their triumph. (Just Football)

Barney Ronay on Harry Kane and how Mauricio Pochettino can get the best out of him. (Guardian)

What happened on Thursday

Manchester United lost their Europa League opener. (The Busby Babe)

Scores, recaps and tables for all the Europa League games can be found here. (UEFA.com)

What to watch on Friday (click for listings, all times ET)

EPL: Chelsea vs. Liverpool (3 p.m.) -- Watch this.

MLS: Fire vs. DC United (8 p.m.) -- United is in big need of a win in a tight playoff race.

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