MADRID: Real Madrid had to remove the mini stage set up in the Estadio Bernabeu to welcome Gareth Bale before their game against Athletic Bilbao but it was all in a good cause as they won 3-1 in La Liga.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed home his first goal of the season just before half-time as Madrid made it three wins out of three. New midfielder Isco opened the scoring in the 26th minute and struck again through the second half. Ibai Gomez grabbed a consolation for the Basques.

With the points safely wrapped up Madrid fans could turn their thoughts back on the imminent arrival of Wales star Bale from Tottenham for a world record £86m-plus before Monday night’s transfer deadline.

Elsewhere in Spain Rafinha Alcantara and Francisco ‘Piti’ Medina Luna both scored their first goals for their new clubs as Celta Vigo and Granada drew 1-1. Rafinha, the brother of Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago and who joined Luis Enrique’s side on loan from Barcelona in the summer, broke the deadlock with just under half an hour gone.