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Summary

  1. Benzema taps in, then Ronaldo powers in header
  2. Madrid take advantage of Barcelona slip
  3. Second-placed Barca beaten by Malaga on Saturday
  4. Ancelotti wins in 100th competitive Real match

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    Time for us to wave farewell. So Real Madrid's win means Barcelona are well behind in the La Liga title race, but we will be back on Tuesday to see if the Catalan giants can bounce back in the Champions League. That's when they jump on the private plane and fly north to England, where they face Manchester City in the last-16 tie. Do. Not. Miss. It. Adios!

  2. Stat attack

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Opta Jose: 5 - Cristiano has scored more headed goals in La Liga this season than any other player.

  3. Post update

    Italian Serie A

    Before we bring this European jaunt to an end, let's do a quick detour over to Italy.

    Today's late Serie A game saw on-loan Chelsea midfielder Mohamed Salah give Fiorentina an 85th minute lead over Torino, only for the visitors to level two minutes later when Giuseppe Vives pounced on a defensive slip-up.

    That mean Fiorentina, who harbour European ambitions of their own again next season, drop to fifth after the weekend's matches.

  4. Post update

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Carlo Ancelotti

    So Carlo Ancelotti is toasting another win in his 100th competitive match as Real Madrid boss. That makes him the most successful Los Blancos boss in his first century, a 78% win rate surpassing the previous best set by Jose Mourinho. I'd imagine there is a rather grumpy Portuguese football manager in south-west London right now...

  5. Ronaldo moves up to third

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Cristiano Ronaldo
  6. Get involved

    #bbceurofooty

    Sulaimon Adelekan: Quote me anywhere, this Real Madrid team will win the La Liga and retain the Champions League.

  7. Race for the title

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Real Madrid
  8. FULL-TIME

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    I think that goes under the 'Job Done' file. Real Madrid dominated from the first whistle and even though they were scruffy at times in the final third, fully deserved a routine win. They are now four points clear of arch-rivals Barcelona. Although there is the small matter of El Clasico next month....

  9. FULL-TIME

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Madrid substitute Jese barely breaks stride before referee Ignacio Iglesias toots his whistle for the final time this evening. But he won't care - his team earn a vital win in the Spanish title race.

  10. SUBSTITUTION

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    These Elche fans are a sporting bunch - there is even a ripple of applause for Karim Benzema. The France striker jogs off to tap the hand of Jese, who will play the final few seconds.

  11. Post update

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    I don't think Elche have touched the ball in the last 90 seconds or so. Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal tries to pick out Cristiano Ronaldo at the near post, but home keeper Tyton is alert to beat him to the ball.

  12. INJURY TIME

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Keep ball time for Real Madrid as they run down the clock. Three minutes of stoppage time for Elche to endure.

  13. SUBSTITUTION

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Standing ovation for Real Madrid attacking midfielder Isco as he leaves the field. Not often you see that sort of reception from a home crowd. The Spain international, one of Madrid's most outstanding performers this season, is replaced by Alvaro Arbeloa.

  14. Post update

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Madrid keeper Iker Casillas has been a virtual bystander for most of this match. So boredom would be one way to explain why he decides to take on the Elche attack in his own box. The veteran Spain keeper almost loses possession but recovers as Elche fail to threaten.

  15. SUBSTITUTION

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Asier Illaramendi nods at Real assistant coach Paul Clement. He understands what he has got to do. Which is presumably as simple as not letting Elche mount an unlikely comeback. He replaces recent signing Lucas Silva, who has been very effective in central midfield.

  16. Post update

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Elche have made all three substitutions, as Real look set to make their first. Big-money midfielder Asier Illarramendi, who can barely get a look in these days, peruses the Madrid tactical book on the touchline.

  17. Post update

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Still Madrid ping the ball about with ease, their black shirts gliding around the pitch like draughts on a polished checkerboard.

  18. Post update

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Elche aren't helping themselves mind you. Karim Benzema checks in the right channel before clipping up a cross that the home defence hook clear. But it goes only as far as Toni Kroos, who can't shoot as well as he passes. The ball flies harmlessly over the Elche goal.

  19. FINAL FIFTEEN

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Damage limitation now for Elche as we enter the final 15 minutes. The confidence is flowing their veins of the Madrid players, who are pinging the ball around neatly and with intent.

  20. Post update

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid

    Madrid are threatening to run up a rugby score now. The away side win a free-kick right on the cusp of the Elche penalty area. A few black shirts stand over the ball, but one man pulls rank. Who? Who do you think? Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal skipper hammers a low shot which flashes past the past - the wrong side of the post as far as Real is concerned.

  21. GOAL

    Elche 0-2 Real Madrid - Cristiano Ronaldo

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Moments after that decent chance, Cristiano Ronaldo does stick his name on the scoresheet. The Ballon d'Or winner is left unmarked to charge into space and powerfully plant in Isco's left-wing cross with his forehead.

    Did someone say he is out of sorts? I'd take him in my Sunday League team...

  22. Post update

    Elche 0-1 Real Madrid

    Panic stations! Elche's defence parts like a receding hairline in the wind as Gareth Bale tries to convert Cristiano Ronaldo's throughball. There's a bit too much pace on the pass though, as the Welshman then beats a home defender to cut back to the Portugal skipper. However, he can't poke in with a scissor kick.

  23. Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

    David R. Pollard: Karim Benzema is one of the most underrated footballers in the sport right now, but he knows how to score. Unselfish too.

  24. Net gains for Benzema

    Elche 0-1 Real Madrid

    Karim Benzema
  25. Post update

    Elche 0-1 Real Madrid

    Elche lurch forward on a half-hearted attack, but menacing Madrid centre-back Pepe is lurking in the right place to mop up a hopeful ball forward.

  26. Post update

    Elche 0-1 Real Madrid

    Not much of a reaction from Elche. Instead it is Real Madrid who look likeliest to score another, Cristiano Ronaldo's deflected punt from distance is gobbled up by the home keeper.

  27. Post update

    Elche 0-1 Real Madrid

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Madrid have the bit between their teeth now. Recent signing Lucas Silva wins a free-kick on the left, but the delivery cannot pick out a Madrid head waiting in the packed penalty box.

  28. Text us on 81111

    Sage in Edinburgh: Re Ross in Maidstone - put your toys back in the pram and suck on some reality for a change. Sorry but have to break it to you. Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas didn't come through Chelsea's youth system, neither did Angel Di Maria or Daley Blind come through at United's or Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure at City's. Looking at the top-four English clubs at the moment, they seem to be more than happy to reap the rewards of their 'brought in' talent. Real Madrid bully no-one, they just offer stupid money!

  29. Post update

    Elche 0-1 Real Madrid

    Not the prettiest of Madrid goals this season - but it could be one of the most vital. Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti clenches his fist in joy as his side look on course to go four points clear of Barcelona.

  30. GOAL

    Elche 0-1 Real Madrid - Karim Benzema

    Karim Benzema

    Madrid make the breakthrough! Cristiano Ronaldo is the instigator, storming down the left before poking into the centre of the six-yard box. A desperate sliding challenge from Elche defender Lomban hits his own keeper, falling into the grateful path of Karim Benzema who taps in.

  31. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Thankfully Gareth Bale is relatively unscathed as he clambers to back to his feet. Elche are not punished further though, as the set-piece drifts over every Madrid head in the box.

  32. YELLOW CARD

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Ooof! Now I'm wincing. Gareth Bale is cleaned out by a flying kick by Elche's Aaron Niguez on the corner of the penalty box - that was more Tekken than Fifa. The referee reaches for his pocket - and pulls out a yellow card. Lucky boy. Could have been red.

  33. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Karim Benzema

    Worrying moment for Real Madrid. Karim Benzema drops to the turf, wincing like he has just had a bag of spanners dropped on his foot. Elche right-back Damian Suarez is the culprit, scraping his studs over the France striker's right boot.

  34. Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

    Bentley Baxter: What on earth do managers have to do these days to keep their jobs? Eighth not enough for Sam Allardyce. First not enough for Carlo Ancelotti. Madness.

  35. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    First chance goes to Elche! Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas, who had as comfortable a first half as he has enjoyed in any of his previous 499 games, is needed to push out Aaron Niguez's low cross-shot.

  36. KICK-OFF

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

  37. HALF-TIME

    Fiorentina 0-0 Torino

    Italian Serie A

    Fiorentina Torino

    Across the Mediterranean, tonight's Serie A clash between Fiorentina and Torino is goalless at half-time. However, Khouma Babacar missed a 10th-minute penalty for the Viola.

  38. Noel Gallagher's high-flying footballers

    Noel Gallagher's Dream Band

    Talking of Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid and France legend might be pleased to learn that he has been named in a fantasy band of footballers by ex-Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher.

    Zizou would play lead guitar because "he is a wizard", says Manchester City fan Gallagher, who is appearing as a pundit on Match of the Day 2 later.

    Gallagher's fab four also features Patrick Vieira (bass guitar), Mario Balotelli (drums) and frontman George Best.

  39. Text us on 81111

    Sam in Swansea: Real Madrid, depending on your opinion, are the biggest club in the world. But surely Florentino Perez, a hugely successful businessman is clever enough to see the benefits of stability? Zinedine Zidane is being touted as the next manager - a man whose coaching experience extends to a few games in charge of their B-team...

  40. Madrid meltdown for Mourinho?

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Amid the rumours that Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti will not be offered another Bernabeu deal, the name of Jose Mourinho has been thrown into the mix as a potential replacement.

    However, the self-proclaimed Special One could not handle the pressure as manager of the Spanish giants, claims ex-Real president Ramon Calderon.

    The Chelsea boss managed Real from 2010-13, winning La Liga in 2012 and the Copa del Rey in 2011, before leaving for Stamford Bridge.

    "To be a manager of Real Madrid is really, really difficult," Calderon told BBC World Service. "See what happened to Mourinho. He is someone who is used to coping with pressure and he couldn't."

  41. Casillas celebrates 500th top-flight game

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Iker Casillas
  42. Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

    Cal Black: Dodgy offside calls, lack of yellow cards and attempted mid-game shirt swapping. What am I watching?

  43. As it stands

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    La Liga

    Madrid should be 1-0 ahead, however, as Karim Benzema's overhead kick (see 39 mins) looked perfectly fine to me. But the referee ruled otherwise - and his opinion is the one which matters.

    Remember, Los Blancos are aiming to take advantage of Barcelona's defeat yesterday and move four points clear of their arch-rivals.

  44. HALF-TIME

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    And that 60 seconds ticks by without any major incident. Referee Ignacio Iglesias toots his whistle to signal the end of a first half that La Liga leaders Madrid dominated without reward.

  45. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    The fourth official strolls forward to the touchline before hoisting up the electronic board. That reveals there will be one minute of stoppage time....

  46. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    The excitement levels of the home crowd are briefly raised as Real Madrid momentarily look short on numbers at the back. But Croatian midfielder Mario Pasalic has a rush of blood to the head, slashing wildly over the bar from distance. Come on! You had team-mates in better positions there...

  47. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    We're still none the wiser for the reasoning behind Karim Benzema's acrobatic kick being wiped out....

  48. Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

    Dennis Waithera: Safe to say Gareth Bale was not made to play in La Liga. Won't be surprised if he's back to Premier League soon.

  49. DISALLOWED GOAL

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Karim Benzema

    What a goal! Well, what a goal this would have been. Real forward Gareth Bale lobs up a cross just behind Karim Benzema, who rectifies the situation with a brilliant overhead kick that goes into the bottom corner.

    But the referee blows his whistle for infringement and rules out the Frenchman's effort. Is he offside? The replays show he isn't. Perhaps he has been punished for high foot? Mystifying....

  50. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    The wind has gone out of the Madrid sails in the past few moments. Elche have finally woken up at the back, snuffing out the danger as Gareth Bale is dispossessed on the edge of the home box.

  51. Text us on 81111

    Ross in Maidstone: Don't like Real Madrid and never have done! Just bully boys who bully teams into selling players and won't give in until they get their player, rather than finding their own talent. I hope they lose and win nothing!

  52. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    A brief moment of concern for Real Madrid as they suffer a communication breakdown. Left-back Marcelo leaves the ball for his keeper Iker Casillas, which almost allows Elche forward Jonathas to nip in. But the pair are relieved to see the ball drift over the Brazilian forward's head and out for a goal kick.

  53. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Gareth Bale

    Play quickly switches back to the other end as Real Madrid spring forward on the counter. Isco leads the charge down the left flank, only to send a tame shot shuffling into Elche keeper Przemyslaw Tyton's hands.

  54. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Can Elche punish Madrid for their profligacy? In a word, no. The home side win a free-kick close to the left touchline and send up the big lads from the back. But the delivery is overhit and Real keeper Iker Casillas leaps above a cluster of bodies to gather.

  55. Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

    Tyler Joel: Excuse my ignorance but why on earth would Real sack Ancelotti? They've been ace under him.

    John McEnerney: La Liga the nuttiest league in the world - three bad games and it puts them in the stocks. Let Carlo go at your peril Florentino!

    Giro-aeng K. Ronald: Arsene Wenger is the best man to replace Carlo if he has to leave Real Madrid.

  56. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Another Madrid chance, another Cristiano Ronaldo chance. The Portugal skipper hangs in the air like an astronaut in zero gravity to meet Toni Kroos's right-wing free-kick. But he can't keep his header down and Elche survive. Again.

  57. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Finally! Elche have a, er, shot at goal. I say a shot - it's more a speculative punt that deflects off a Real defender and loops into the hands of Iker Casillas. At least Casillas feels like he is actually involved in this game and not just a spectator.

  58. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Real Madrid

    The statistics don't actually do Real's dominance justice. Elche are hanging on by the skin of their teeth...

  59. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Another chance goes begging for Real Madrid! Gareth Bale sticks on the after-burners down the right, drilling a low cross down the corridor of uncertainty between keeper and defence to the far post. And there waiting to pounce is Cristiano Ronaldo. But the Ballon d'Or winner nudges the ball into a white and green shirt as the hosts hack clear.

  60. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    How there is still a nought next to Real Madrid on the scoreboard I do not know. Cristiano Ronaldo flashes a fierce cross in front of the Elche goal, then moments later Karim Benzema fails to release the ball quick enough inside the home penalty area.

  61. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Elche keeper Przemyslaw Tyton is being worked harder than Dot Cotton's legal team at the moment. The Pole is called upon again to leap to his left and push clear Cristiano Ronaldo's stinging shot from the left.

  62. Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

    Sulaimon Adelekan: It's football so anything can happen but i expect Carlo Ancelotti to stay.

  63. GREAT SAVE!

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    These tidal waves of Madrid attacks would have drowned most teams. But Elche still have their heads above water - just.

    Isco clips in a delicious cross from the left flank as Gareth Bale nips in behind a stationary Elche defence. But luckily Poland keeper Przemyslaw Tyton is more alert and races out to smother.

  64. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Gareth Bale

    Another Real attack, this time down the right, through Gareth Bale. However, the Welshman cannot pick out Cristiano Ronaldo at the far post as some more desperate defending forces another corner.

  65. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Elche have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes recently, having won three of their last five matches to move out of the relegation zone. But this is a different proposition to Eibar, Rayo Vallecano or Levante. This is Real Madrid.

    Ronaldo finds space in the left channel of the box, only to see his cross blocked by a green and white shirt.

  66. Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

    Giro-aeng K. Ronald: Hope Real Madrid win tonight to extent their lead at the top of La Liga.

  67. HITS THE WOODWORK

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    This could be a long night for Elche if the opening exchanges are any indication. Cristiano Ronaldo, whose every touch is greeted by a chorus of whistles, works an inch of space in the Elche box before digging out a curling effort which beats the home keeper. However, it does not beat the right-hand upright. Another escape for the hosts!

  68. DISALLOWED GOAL

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Gareth Bale

    The ball is lifted over Elche goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton by Gareth Bale - and drops into the empty net. But the home side are saved by the linesman's flag which is flapping in the light Valencian breeze. Offside.

  69. Post update

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Early possession for the away side ends in a long ball pumped into the box towards Gareth Bale. But the Welshman is adjudged to have fouled an Elche defender and the hosts win the a free-kick.

  70. KICK-OFF

    Elche 0-0 Real Madrid

    Real Madrid, decked out in their changed dark strip, kick off proceedings. Thankfully they're not wearing that eye-watering pink number...

  71. Post update

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas is all smiles as he contests the coin toss with his opposite skipper. This is the Spain number one's 500th La Liga match.

  72. LINE-UPS

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Elche: Tyton, Suarez, Roco, Lomban, Albacar, Niguez, Pasalic, Adrian, Victor, Fajr, Jonathas. Subs: Manu Herrera, Cisma, Cristian Herrera, Coro, Garry Rodrigues, Alvaro Gimenez, Rafa Galvez.

    Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Kroos, Lucas Silva, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema. Subs: Keylor Navas, Hernandez, Arbeloa, Nacho, Jese, Illarramendi, Alvaro Medran.

  73. Five-minute warning

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    The players are emerging from their respective changing rooms, the sprinklers at the Martinez Valero have just been turned off and the chorizo vendors are holding back on cooking extra sausage.

    Five minutes until Madrid look to extend their lead at the top of La Liga.

  74. Text us on 81111

    Rob in London: I'm sure Harry Redknapp would welcome a call from Real Madrid should they sack Carlo Ancelotti!

  75. More success for Moyes

    Real Sociedad 4-3 Sevilla

    Real Sociedad's players celebrate

    David Moyes's Real Sociedad side were on the right side of a 4-3 thriller against Sevilla earlier this afternoon.

    Sociedad trailed 3-2 heading into the final seven minutes at the Anoeta Stadium but Sevilla's Alejandro Arribas put through his own net before Xabier Prieto's injury-time winner.

    The win, Sociedad's first of the month, helped the Basque club climb up to 10th place in the table.

    And that's the first time this season that La Real have been in the top half of La Liga this season. It seems Moyes has the magic touch...

  76. Centurion Carlo

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Real Madrid
  77. Post update

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    If Real Madrid win at the Martinez Valero, Carlo Ancelotti will have the highest win ratio in his first 100 matches of any Los Blancos manager.

    Ancelotti is searching for his 78th win, after recording 10 draws and 12 defeats in the previous 99 matches. That win ratio of 78% would surpass the mark currently held by Ancelotti's predecessor Jose Mourinho, who won 77 of his first 100 games.

    Miguel Munoz, who guided Madrid to two European Cup victories and nine La Liga titles between 1960 and 1974, is back in third place with 70 victories.

  78. Get involved

    #bbceurofooty

    Callum Mankl: Managers don't come and go like players. There's not going to be a world-class manager available all the time.

  79. Post update

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Think this will be a stroll in the mild Valencian night for Real Madrid? Then it might be worth refreshing your memory of last season's clash at the Martinez Valero.

    Back in September 2013, Elche were still winless in La Liga as Madrid tried to keep pace with leaders Barcelona.

    But the visitors needed a 94th-minute penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to spare their blushes and nick a 2-1 victory.

    Barca boss Luis Enrique will sat watching at home with his fingers crossed that Elche can give Madrid another run for their money. Unless he's watching all the red carpet build-up to the Oscars instead...

  80. Barca leave door open for Madrid

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Lionel Messi

    Real Madrid's players and fans may have needed to rub their eyes again when they woke up to look at the Spanish top-flight table this morning. Because they would have fully expected to be trailing Barcelona ahead of the trip to relegation-threatened Elche.

    But the Catalans missed the chance to go top as they suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat by seventh-placed Malaga yesterday.

    Juanmi scored the seventh-minute winner following a Dani Alves mistake as Barca's 11-match winning run crashed to an end.

    Even Lionel Messi was left gobsmacked...

  81. As it stands table

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Spanish La Liga
  82. Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

    Okey Francis: Florentino Perez seems an insatiable man. Which top class manager would he hire then if he allows Carlo Ancelotti go?

  83. Post update

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Despite Real's recent wobble - and the subsequent whispers around Madrid's bars and restaurants - Carlo Ancelotti remains calm about his future.

    The Italian says he does not believe the chance of his contract being renewed depends on whether Real Madrid win a trophy this season or not.

    "At the end of the season I think it would be a good moment to talk about the renewal," says the Italian. "But if that doesn't happen then it is not a problem as I have a contract until June 2016 and I am here to stay.

    "My objective is always to win. When I arrived I knew that I had to win and in all the teams that I have trained the objective has been to win."

  84. Text us on 81111

    James in London: I've always thought of Carlo Ancelotti being a good short-term replacement for Arsene Wenger when he retires... Would bring stability and success.

  85. Post update

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Ronaldo

    However, Real appear to have recovered from the shock of that Atletico mauling after back-to-back victories against Deportivo La Coruna and Schalke.

    And importantly Cristiano Ronaldo is back in business. The Ballon d'Or winner began Wednesday's last-16 tie in Germany without a goal in three games but scored the opener in a 2-0 first-leg win.

    Tonight he is hoping to avoid an unwanted record of going four La Liga matches without scoring since arriving from Manchester United in 2009.

  86. Post update

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Of course, it hasn't all been plain sailing for Ancelotti and Real Madrid in 2015. Los Blancos' record 22-match winning run came to a crashing halt in their first game of the New Year with a 2-1 defeat at fourth-placed Valencia.

    Within a week and a half, they had also been dumped out of the Copa del Rey after a two-legged defeat by neighbours Atletico. And Diego Simone's men caused further embarrassment for their illustrious rivals by thrashing them 4-0 at the Vicente Calderon. Not a Happy New Year...

  87. Get involved

    #bbceurofooty

    Real Madrid allowing Carlo Ancelotti to leave? That would be crazy if you ask me. Even more stupid than Brentford allowing Mark Warburton to leave. Maybe there is a job swap in the offing...

    Anyway, what do you think? Do you expect the man with the greatest raised eyebrow in world football - not to mention a trophy-laden managerial CV - to still be at Madrid next season? Or do you think someone else will be sat in the hottest of hot seats?

    Tweet your opinions using #bbceurofooty or text 81111. Come on, don't leave me staring at a blank screen...

  88. Team news

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti names an unchanged XI from the one which beat German side Schalke in their midweek Champions League tie.

    Madrid XI: Casillas, Carvajal, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Kroos, Lucas Silva, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.

  89. Post update

    Elche v Real Madrid (20:00 GMT)

    Carlo Ancelotti

    Remarkably, rumours are beginning to swirl around the Spanish capital that Ancelotti's time at the Bernabeu might soon be ending.

    The ex-Chelsea and AC Milan coach is out of contract at the end of next season and, according to the Madrid-based press, Los Blancos president Florentino Perez is not in a hurry to draw up a new deal for the 55-year-old.

    However, it is not easy to understand why. Ancelotti takes his table-topping side to La Liga rivals Elche tonight, knowing they can move four points clear of arch-rivals Barcelona.

  90. Post update

    Carlo Ancelotti

    When an employer offers somebody a job, they expect that person to deliver on the promises made in the initial interview.

    And, as he prepares for his 100th competitive match as Real Madrid boss, Carlo Ancelotti has done exactly that.

    Leading the undisputed European kings to a historic 'La Decima'. Winning three other pieces of gleaming silverware. Setting a new Spanish record of 22 straight wins. And restoring harmony to a previously fractious dressing room.

    Most employees would be expecting a glowing appraisal, whopping pay rise and brand new luxury car for that sort of productivity.

    But then, this is the crazy world of Real Madrid...

  91. Post update

    Carlo Ancelotti

    "So Mr Ancelotti, tell me why you are the right person to manage our historic football club?" Real Madrid president Florentino Perez asks.

    The Italian, sat across the oak-panelled table in the Bernabeu boardroom, raises his left eyebrow northwards in trademark fashion. He takes a gentle sip of the mineral water in front of him.

    "Simple," he replies with the calm and steel of a Martin Scorsese character. "I will bring you instant success. I will win you trophies."

    "Then, Mr Ancelotti, we have a deal."