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La Liga News: 11 January 2016; Atletico Madrid Retake League Lead, Real Betis Sack Pepe Mel

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Ronaldo was only chosen on reputation - three players who deserve Ballon d'or nomination ahead of Madrid star -
This is not intended as an attack on Ronaldo. It is merely putting forward the case that his name only appears on the ballot because of the reputation he earned over the years. He did not have an extraordinary 2015, he did not lead his team to any titles, and he was simply not one of the three best performers over the course of the year. Who was? Try these: Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal all deserve to be on the podium before Ronaldo.

Real Madrid Gareth Bale happy under Zinedine Zidane - ESPN FC
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale called it "disappointing" to see Rafa Benitez sacked as coach, and although he is already feeling happy under the reign of his boyhood hero, Zinedine Zidane, he is not looking too far ahead when it comes to his future.

Atletico Madrid return to top of table with win Celta Vigo - ESPN FC
Atletico Madrid returned to the top of the Primera Division standings with a 2-0 victory at Celta Vigo. After seeing title rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid record big winning margins on Saturday, the pressure was on Diego Simeone's side to respond and, as they usually have so far this season, they delivered.

Atletico not better or worse than anyone else Simeone - ESPN FC
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone played down his team's chances of winning La Liga after an eighth victory in nine games saw them top the table at the halfway mark. Simeone's side have kept 12 clean sheets in their first 19 games and are two points ahead of champions Barcelona, who have a game in hand. Real Madrid are third, four points off the top.

Athletic suffer double Barca blow | Football Espana
Garcia was forced off just half an hour into Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Sevilla, and Athletic promptly announced "a sprain to the medial side of his left knee, pending further tests and developments" on their official website. Los Leones' top goalscorer Aduriz, meanwhile, accumulated a fifth yellow card against Sevilla to force an automatic, one-game ban.

Valencia lose third game under Gary Neville - ESPN FC
The Brazilian forward took advantage of an error from Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech to knock in the first goal after 78 minutes, and four minutes later headed home the second, again making the most of a good cross from Carlos Martinez.

Gary Neville - Valencia have to 'snap out of it' - ESPN FC
Valencia coach Gary Neville said his team must "work hard to rectify this as soon as possible" after their winless run continued with Sunday's 2-0 La Liga defeat at Real Sociedad. The result means former Manchester United player and England assistant coach Neville is still without a league victory after five games in charge, with his only successes to date having come in the early rounds of the Copa del Rey.

Cedric Bakambu at the double as Villarreal equal best first half of a season - ESPN FC
Two goals from Cedric Bakambu fired Villarreal to a sixth successive Primera Division victory as they overcame struggling Sporting Gijon 2-0 at El Madrigal. The Congolese forward tapped in a pass from Roberto Soldado to open the scoring on 26 minutes and made the most of another move by his strike partner to double the lead early in the second half, netting his eighth goal of the season.

Real Betis sack manager Pepe Mel for second time - ESPN FC
Pepe Mel has been sacked by Real Betis for the second time in his career. The former West Brom boss, now 52, began a second spell in charge of the Andalusian club in December 2014, having previously been Betis manager between February 2010 and December 2013.

Eibar 2-1 Espanyol - ESPN FC
Eibar boosted their European hopes by beating Espanyol for a third consecutive Primera Division win. Borja's penalty 16 minutes from time sealed the 2-1 victory to move Eibar to within a point of sixth-placed Sevilla.

Malaga held to draw by Las Palmas - ESPN FC
Malaga's four-match winning run in the Primera Division ended with a 1-1 draw against Las Palmas on Gran Canaria. Roque Santa Cruz rescued a point for the visitors, extending their unbeaten run to seven league games, after Pedro Tana had opened the scoring.

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