An unlikely source backed up the notion that the José Mourinho might be moving on come the summer. "Mourinho told us that next year he won’t be able to come and give a talk to the coaches because he won’t be here," Canillas president Manolo Alvarez informed COPE Deportes. The club was quick to distance themselves from their president's comment: "We regret that our president's words were taken out of context," read a statement the following day. Mourinho confirmed Alvarez's side of the story, but played down any meaning: "He likes to go out in the Press and he likes the attention. He’s a good person, but he has that little problem."
It was a dramatic comeback by Real Betis in the Seville derby, with Nosa Igiebor scoring a 90th-minute equaliser. The midfielder has been on the receiving end of racist abuse from his own supporters after arriving back late from the Africa Cup of Nations, and his middle-finger salute was the retaliation following his header. He wasn't the only one giving out offensive hand gestures: manager Pepe Mel was at it as well. "It wasn’t aimed at the Sevilla fans, I respect them. I’m not going to say who it was aimed at, but the person it was aimed at knows," he said afterwards.
Sergio Ramos and Sami Khedira have been left out of the squad, rested ahead of the Champions League. With Xabi Alonso suspended, and Michael Essien and Álvaro Arbeloa injured, the midfield and right side of defence offer the most intrigue. Raúl Albiol and Nacho are the options for the full-back role, whilst Pepe may anchor the midfield alongside Luka Modrić.
The controversial Nosa will miss out for Betis through suspension, while defenders Nacho and Mario out injured. Pepe Mel will probably switch to a 4-3-3 with Rúben Peréz the deepest of a midfield three.
Yet to be defeated this season at the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid have scored 13 goals in their previous three games on home turf. A Cristiano Ronaldo double helped them see off Athletic Bilbao for the last time at San Mamés.
Betis have only lost once in the last seven matches, after developing a never-say-die attitude. They were 3-0 down against arch-rivals Sevilla, but seized upon individual errors to get back into the equation.
The last time these two sides met, Beñat struck to shock the whole of La Liga. In Madrid, goals have been easy to come by for Los Blancos; over 3.5 is at 1.90.
Ronaldo is at 2.90 for another brace, while a Kaká strike from outside the penalty box is at 8.00. Beñat is at 7.50 to repeat the goal he scored at the Benito Villamarín.
Real's formidable home record should continue, despite the strength and ambitions of their opponents. It's about gaining momentum for the bigger and season-defining matches for the next few weeks. Madrid are 1.25 for the win.
Sevilla hothead Gary Medel got sucked into Cañas' trap in the derby, receiving his marching orders in the second half. Could the midfielder repeat the trick on Pepe? The Portuguese international is 25.00 to see red.
Score prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Real Betis (10.00)