Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have made flying starts to the LaLiga season and Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui wants more of the same from his forwards at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
Bale and Benzema have responded impressively to the departure of their old attacking ally Cristiano Ronaldo and have seven goals between them from Madrid's three victorious top-flight games to date.
Benzema hitting the goal trail again after a couple of difficult seasons and tentative hopes that Bale has put his fitness woes behind him bode well as Los Blancos begin their latest Champions League defence against Roma next week.
"He's come back in great shape, no problems," Lopetegui said of Bale at a news conference after the Wales star scored in his country's 4-1 Nations League demolition of Republic of Ireland and completed 90 minutes in their follow up game in the competition against Denmark that they lost 2-0.
"He played 180 minutes but the last one was last Sunday. He's got over that."
Bale has been nominated for the Puskas Award thanks to his spectacular overhead kick in last season's Champions League final win over Liverpool.
"About the prize, I don't really need to go into that. I don't like individual prizes. The best prize for a goal is to celebrate it," Lopetegui said.
"I hope that my players always win it, but I am a little bit biased."
Bale might have been the hero on that occasion, but Benzema scored Madrid's opener and braces in the 4-1 wins over Leganes and Girona mean the French striker is only one shy of the five goals he managed in the entirety of the LaLiga season last time around.
"I'm not surprised, I think he's a great player," Lopetegui said. "He's very mature now. He's at the best stage of his career. It doesn't surprise me.
"What we want him to do is to continue like that and give us his best."
Lopetegui dismissed reports linking him to a move for Porto midfielder Hector Herrera, explaining a visit to his former place of work during the international break as the root of the speculation.
"That's something that's been made up," he said. "I went to Porto with my family and it's not true."
14 de noviembre 2018
|Injured Holder out of Bangladesh tour|
|Germany face relegation, final spots up for grabs - Nations League state of play|
|James Rodriguez out for several weeks with knee injury|
|Curran´s brilliant fifty rescues England´s innings|
|Lenglet: No problem with Dembele at Barca|
|Townsend rings the changes for Springboks clash|
|Claudio Ranieri´s managerial career in Opta numbers|
|Mahmudullah´s first century in eight years boosts Bangladesh|
|Fellaini gets the chop ahead of 31st birthday|
|Maradona: Solari will not last at Real Madrid|
|Molinari: Race to Dubai success would not surpass Ryder Cup glory with Fleetwood|
|Dortmund star Sancho was a Bayern target, confirms Salihamidzic|
|Gerrard enjoying ´buzz´ of management|
|Hamilton questions approach to Formula One expansion|
|Ranieri honoured to lead ´exceptional´ Fulham squad|
|Solari saw Isco out of shape - Ceballos|
|Ranieri replaces Jokanovic at Fulham|
|Durant keeps details of Green spat ´in-house´ but envisages resolution|
|Rooney: Kane and Sterling are England superstars|
|Messi will make Argentina return, says Maradona|
|Warriors drop Hawks as Green serves suspension|
|In-form Healy sends Australia into semis|
|Former NBA star McGrady says Carmelo Anthony should retire|
|Celtics´ Smart: We have to look at ourselves in the mirror|
|Federer plays down preferential treatment talk|
|Mourinho is better than Guardiola – Maradona|
|Mbappe plays down Pele comparisons|
|Don´t worry bro – Mendy responds to Trump|
|Melvin, Snitker win manager of the year awards|
|Warriors´ Green suspended for Hawks clash|
|Asensio: It´s not for me to lead Madrid|
|Rooney ready to enjoy England farewell after pressure of ´Golden Generation´|
13 de noviembre 2018
|Ludwigsburg stun high-flying Murcia in BCL|
|Rams v Chiefs moved to LA due to Mexico City field conditions|
|Skriniar discussing new Inter contract, confirms agent|
|Former Barcelona boss Martino named MLS Coach of the Year|
|Bell fails to report to Steelers, will sit out rest of season|
|Federer back on track after dismal Thiem display|
|Udinese appoint Nicola after sacking Velazquez|
|Monaco deny they broke rules regarding youth recruitment|
|Del Bosque, Zidane, Lopetegui - The former Castilla coaches Solari follows into Real Madrid hot seat|
|Ozil rejected ´crazy offers´ from Asia, reveals agent|
|Real Madrid appoint Solari on permanent basis|
|LeVert avoids need for surgery, should return this season|
|Neuer confident despite concerns over Bayern Munich form|
|All I ever wanted to do is win, says Sixers signing Butler|
|Pogba: Coming home to United was the best feeling ever|
|Watson among four signing new Bath deals|
|Susanna Dinnage to replace Scudamore as Premier League chief executive|
|Murray commits to Brighton until 2020|
|Rooney rejected chance of pre-World Cup farewell|
|Impressive Anderson thrashes Nishikori|
|Ozil´s Germany absence a ´pity´, says Sane|
|Rooney: I´ll finish my career in the US|
|McIlroy unsure of 2019 European Tour membership|
|Australian Open dismisses concerns of Federer scheduling bias|
|Hue Jackson joins Bengals staff as ´special assistant´|
|Real Madrid confirm Reguilon injury|
|Higuain handed two-match ban for Juve meltdown|
|Kruis ruled out for England as Jones calls up uncapped quartet|
|A year on from Italy failure, Ventura leaves Chievo after four games|
|Bairstow misses out as unchanged England promote Stokes|
|Recalled Alba denies Luis Enrique bust-up|
|´Unhappy´ Christensen won´t push for Chelsea exit|
|Nadal to make Abu Dhabi comeback in December|
|Taijul helps Bangladesh tighten their grip despite Taylor ton|
|Neymar joining Real Madrid wouldn´t hurt Iniesta|
|It´s just team spirit - Livingston not worried by Durant-Green exchange|
|Trippier out of England squad with groin injury|
|Ex-Sri Lanka international Lokuhettige charged by ICC|