Madrid win at Betis amid Mbappe whispers

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Amid growing speculation in the Spanish capital that Kylian Mbappe could soon be on his way, Real Madrid have defeated Real Betis 1-0 in La Liga.

Right-back Dani Carvajal celebrated his return from a long injury layoff by firing home a brilliant volley in the second half - his first goal for Los Blancos since November 2019.

The Spain's international's strike at at Benito Villamarin on Saturday was enough for Carlo Ancelotti's side to make it two wins out three to go joint-top of the table.

The match was Madrid's last before the summer transfer window closes on Tuesday night.

Paris Saint-Germain acknowledged this week that they had rejected an offer from Madrid to sign Mbappe.

But the French club added that they were still open to negotiations over a blockbuster move for the player viewed by many as soccer's leading talent for years to come.

"I think that (Ancelotti) has said it, anything that helps the squad is good, so I hope that we can strengthen the squad in the days that are left," Carvajal said when asked about the possibility of Mbappe joining Madrid.

However, club official Emilio Butragueno was reticent to discuss Mbappe.

"We understand that people are waiting for news ... but the truth is that we have nothing to say," Butragueno said.

Vinicius Junior was the focus of Madrid's attack in the Brazilian's first start of the season after he had come off the bench to score goals in a 4-1 win at Alaves and a 3-3 draw at Levante.

Eden Hazard lost his spot in the starting 11 amid rumours that he could be on the move to Juventus to fill the hole left by Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United in this summer's shuffle of soccer's top stars.

Hazard came on in the 77th to replace Vinicius.

But not after the Brazilian showed great pace to keep the ball in play at the byline and found Karim Benzema, whose pinpoint cross was drilled home by Carvajal with his right foot for the game's decisive moment.

Betis had a chance to snatch an equaliser deep in added time with Madrid grateful to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for getting across goal to keep out a low drive from Martin Montoya.

Elsewhere in La Liga, Athletic Bilbao beat Celta Vigo 1-0 thanks to a goal from Inaki Williams.

Youssef En-Nesyri cancelled out Enzo Roco's strike as Sevilla drew 1-1 at Elche while Ander Barrenetxea's goal gave Real Sociedad a 1-0 win over Levante.

with DPA

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