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Paul Bocuse, nicknamed the "Pope" of French cuisine, has died at the age of 91 at his restaurant near Lyon.

Sports

Madrid chief Perez urges fans to laud Zidane's history men

media Zinedin Zidane has led Real Madrid to five trophies in 2017 and eight since he took over in January 2016. Reuters/Juan Medina

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez on Sunday implored the club's fans to rejoice in the 2017 achievements of coach Zinedine Zidane and his players. "2017 was a year that the Madridistas will never forget," Perez said in his Christmas message to supporters.

"In terms of titles, it's been the best in the 115 years of our history, and for all of our supporters, 2017 was a great year.

"We are proud of our team and our coach, Zinedine Zidane. They are part of this legend and the myth that is Real Madrid."

Perez’s homily came a day after Madrid lost 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to Barcelona. The defeat left them 14 points behind the Catalans. One bright spot is that Real have played one less game than Ernesto Valverde’s all conquering troops.

Real went into Saturday’s ‘El Clasico’ a week after becoming the first team to win back-to-back Club World Cups. The triumph came seven months after they set a record as the first side to retain the Uefa Champions League since its inception in 1992.

Those baubles are in the cabinet along with the 2017 La Liga trophy as well as the European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup which was hoisted after a 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona.

But since that defeat, Barcelona have recovered to win 14 and draw three of their 17 games in La Liga while Madrid have managed only nine victories. Even if Zidane’s men take maximum points from their game in hand, they will still need trail the Catalans by 11 points.

Progress in the Uefa Champions League also looks tricky. Madrid, who came second in their group behind Tottenham Hotspur, were drawn against the big spending French league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

"Overall, 2017 was very positive. We must continue in this direction for 2018," said Zidane.

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