Real Madrid started the new year with a defeat. The Royal lost 2-1 on the field of Villarreal. Thibaut Courtois was between the posts with the visitors for the entire match, while Eden Hazard remained on the bench. Real Madrid is therefore stuck at 38 points, the same as Barcelona – which can become leader on Sunday if it does not lose at Atlético Madrid.
Real Madrid created a unique event in its club history by starting without a Spaniard for the first time. So the foreigners initially had to do it for De Koninklijke, but that did not exactly work out: Villarreal took the lead shortly after the break via Pino, although there was the inevitable Karim Benzema to equalize the score a little later. That happened after a questionable penalty.
Everything is possible again for Real, but the visitors immediately got the lid on the nose when Villarreal also received a penalty kick. Moreno converted it and thus secured the victory for the home team, because there would be no more goals afterwards: 2-1. Thibaut Courtois played the entire match for the visitors, Eden Hazard remained glued to the bench.
In the standings, Real Madrid still has 38 points, the same as Barcelona – which still plays at Atlético Madrid on Sunday and can only become leader. Atlético can in turn approach to within 8 points of both teams if they win. Villarreal is fifth with 27 points and is currently tied with Atlético.