Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale answered his critics in emphatic style when he ended a nine-game goal drought with a double for the European champions in a 2-0 La Liga victory against Levante at the Bernabeu on Sunday.
A minute`s silence will be held before Real Madrid`s La Liga game at home to Levante later on Sunday and the players will wear black armbands following the death of former Real goalkeeper Antonio Betancort at the age of 78.
Real Madrid will look to returnees Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos to give them a lift and clear the storm clouds hanging over them when they entertain Levante UD in a La Liga match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday.
Lionel Messi marked his 300th La Liga appearance with a record-equalling hat-trick and an assist for Neymar as Barcelona stayed hard on the heels of leaders Real Madrid with a 5-0 romp at home to Levante on Sunday.
The La Liga football returns to action this weekend following the Christmas break with several sides hoping the fortnight's inactivity could change their fortunes, while others hoping a weekend off would have done nothing to interrupt their form.
Japan`s senior players have leapt to the defence of their under-fire head coach Javier Aguirre, who again denied any involvement in a match-fixing case that continues to overshadow their Asian Cup preparations.
Real Sociedad were left frustrated after a late Levante penalty denied them a first league away win of the season on Saturday with their inability to hold on to the lead a further indication of the tough job facing coach David Moyes.