REAL MADRID FACE UNENVIABLE LALIGA CHALLENGE

Following the conclusion of the international break, Real Madrid face the unenviable challenge of overturning an eight point deficit between themselves and Barcelona at the top of LaLiga.

Matches against Atletico Madrid and the Blaugrana are just around the corner for Zinedine Zidane's charges and it is understood within Valdebebas that these matches are must-win for the defending champions.

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It would be unfair to the rest of the Spanish top-flight to suggest that Barcelona will not drop points for the remainder of the campaign, however the six point swing that comes with a victory over your nearest rivals is invaluable.

The club's visit to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano comes on November 18 whilst the first El Clasico of the LaLiga season takes place just before Christmas on December 23.

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However, winning both of these matches is as difficult a challenge as it gets for Los Blancos, it is worth remembering that the European champions haven't achieved the Madrid Derby/Clasico double in the first round of a league season in a decade.

It hasn't occurred since the 2007/08 season when Bernd Schuster's side recorded a 2-1 victory over Los Colchoneros to open the campaign, before winning 1-0 at the Camp Nou on Matchday 17.

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These were two exceptional results that helped Real Madrid on their way to winning the domestic championship.

Just how difficult a task this will be for coach Zidane is illustrated perfectly by the length of time since the club last completed it.

Only Sergio Ramos and Marcelo were part of the last Real team that defeated both Los Rojiblancos and Los Cules in LaLiga's first round of fixtures; the pair are aware of what it takes and will be integral to getting across the importance of the matches to the younger members of the group.

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SOURCE: MARCA

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