Real Madrid’s patchy form in La Liga continued as Zinedine Zidane’s men were held to a goalless draw by Athletic Bilbao.
Real knew a win would have taken them into third place and cut the deficit between them and Barcelona to six points, but Los Blancos could not make the most of the Catalans' Barcelona’s 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo.
There was an early flurry of chances for both sides, with Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos going close for the away side. Inaki Williams had two good chances stopped by Keylor Navas.
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Toni Kroos of Real Madrid CF reacts during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid at Estadio de San Mames on December 2, 2017 in Bilbao,

Image credit: Getty Images

In the second half, Ronaldo hit the post with a well struck volley, and Athletic sat back to absorb ever more pressure as the game went on.
Kepa Arrizabalaga pulled off a number of good stops, explaining why Real Madrid are so keen on the young Athletic goalkeeper.
The late Real charge was ended when Ramos was sent off for a second yellow card with only a few minutes remaining after leading with an arm on Aritz Aduriz, meaning Barcelona keep their eight-point gap over Real.


Real Madrid need to find inspiration from somewhere. Without the flaky Gareth Bale, Real Madrid don't have the power to blast their way through opposition defences, and they don't have the alternatives to use guile and creativity to find a way through. They appear, understandably, happy to focus on youth this season, but it has not yet paid off for them when they are searching for a spark.

Cristiano, durante el Athletic-Real Madrid

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Kepa (Athletic Bilbao): The young goalkeeper has been linked with an imminent move to Real Madrid, and against Real Madrid he showed why. He wasn't spectacular, but he did everything that was asked of him and commanded his box in a way that many older keepers cannot match. Zidane claims he is happy with his two current goalkeepers, but that might change should Kepa join in one of the next two transfer windows.


Athletic Bilbao: Arrizabalaga 7, Iturraspe 6, Williams 7, Susaeta 6, X.Etxeita 6, Mikel Rico 6, De Marcos 6, Aduriz 6, Raúl García 5, Balenziaga 6, Núñez 6. Subs: San José 6, I.Lekue 6, Córdoba 6.
Real Madrid: Navas 6, Carvajal 6, Sergio Ramos 5, Varane 6, Marcelo 7, Kroos 6, Modric 6, Casemiro 5, Isco 5, Ronaldo 6, Benzema 6. Subs: Mayoral 6, Kovacic 6.


17' - ARRIZABALAGA SAVE - Real break from deep, and Marcelo goes down when he's kneed in the thigh by De Marcos. Ronaldo picks the ball up, drives towards goal and wallops a shot at goal from distance that is straight at the 'keeper.
28' - WILLIAMS CHANCE - Williams bursts into the box after a quick one-two, and his shot is fired across the goal to be palmed behind.
31' - KROOS SHOT - Kroos runs on to a cross from the right, and he cuts across it with his left foot, sending a shot just wide of the post.

Ronaldo, Modric, Carvajal, Varane - Athletic-Real Madrid - Liga 2017/2018 - Getty Images

Image credit: Getty Images

48' - NAVAS SAVE - Aduriz receives the ball from the left, on the edge of the box. He lets the ball run across his body and his low shot is palmed away by Navas.
71' - RONALDO HITS THE POST - Isco tries a pass behind for Carvajal. Instead, it comes to Ronaldo a few yards out, who chests it down and fizzes a fierce left-foot volley against the post.
86' - RAMOS RED - Ramos is off. He'd already been booked for raising his arm, and now he's punished for the same on Aduriz.


Sergio Ramos received his 19th La Liga red card for Real, and his 24th in all competitions.
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