Real Madrid break 4,435-match record which had stood for club's entire history

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Real Madrid's XI at Villarreal was their first ever starting line-up without a Spaniard (Image: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Real Madrid named a starting line-up without a Spanish footballer for the first time in the club’s history in Saturday’s La Liga defeat at Villarreal.

Yeremy Pino gave the hosts the lead after half-time but a controversial handball call against Juan Foyth allowed Karim Benzema to level from the penalty spot for the visitors. Foyth subsequently won a penalty of his own after David Alaba handled in the area, allowing Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno to net the winner.

It was an entertaining contest which featured 30 shots on target in total and no shortage of contentious points, including each side winning a spot kick. It was Madrid’s second league defeat of the season, as they missed the chance to move top of La Liga.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side remain second in the standings behind Barcelona on goal difference, with the Catalan giants travelling to Atletico Madrid in Sunday’s action. However, unless Barca beat Madrid by two goals or more in the Camp Nou later in the campaign, the Spanish capital club would finish above their El Clasico rivals based on their head-to-head record.

The Spanish and European champions were deservedly beaten by a resurgent Villarreal outfit at the Ceramica stadium, as Quique Setien’s side moved up to fifth in La Liga with their fifth successive victory across all competitions.

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Yet the game was even more notable from Real Madrid ’s perspective as they did not select a Spaniard in their starting line-up for the first time in the club’s history. In each of the club’s previous 4,435 matches, they had included at least one Spanish player in their starting XI.

Real Madrid break 4,435-match record which had stood for club's entire historyVillarreal moved up to fifth in La Liga with the win over Real Madrid (Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

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A sextet of Spaniards were on the bench for Ancelotti’s side – Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio, Dani Ceballos, Nacho Fernandez, Jesus Vallejo and Luis Lopez – but none were included in the side that started the game against Villarreal.

Real Madrid’s line-up was made up of three Frenchmen (Aurelien Tchouameni, Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema), two Brazilians (Vinicius Junior and Eder Militao), alongside two Germans (Antonio Rudiger and Toni Kroos), a Croatian (Luka Modric), a Belgian (Thibaut Courtois), an Austrian (David Alaba) and a Uruguayan (Federico Valverde).

The club finished a Champions League clash against FC Sheriff Tiraspol last season without a Spaniard - Courtois, Rodrygo Goes , Militao, Alaba, Kroos, Modric, Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Jovic, Vinicius and Benzema were the players to finish the game - but Lucas Vazquez started the encounter.

Colin Millar

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