CR7 returns to lead Madrid

2015-02-05 15:22
Cristiano Ronaldo. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou, AFP)

Barcelona - Real Madrid will hope Cristiano Ronaldo's return from suspension will be enough to overcome a spate of injuries when Real visits Atletico Madrid on Saturday in another rematch of last season's Champions League final.

James Rodriguez joined Madrid's list of injured players when he broke a bone in his right foot on Wednesday. Sergio Ramos is also out after injuring his leg.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti will have to look to his bench to field a starting eleven against an Atletico side that has bettered his team in three competitions this season.

While Madrid leads the league with Atletico seven points behind in third, second-place Barcelona enters the weekend four points behind the pacesetters and will wait until Sunday to visit Athletic Bilbao.

Madrid's 2-1 win over Sevilla on Wednesday proved costly when both Rodriguez and Ramos went down in the first half.

Rodriguez was set to have surgery on Thursday, while the club was still waiting to determine the extent Ramos' thigh injury.

Madrid was already without midfielder Luka Modric (left leg) and defender Pepe (ribs).

Marcelo also saw his fifth yellow card against Sevilla. Ancelotti said the club would appeal the booking and that he will rely on center backs Raphael Varane and Nacho Fernandez to anchor his defense.

"We lose some experienced heads but sometimes an injection of enthusiasm is a good thing," Ancelotti said. "I'm not worried."

Ronaldo will return from a two-match suspension for kicking a Cordoba player.

Ronaldo, who turned 30 on Thursday, leads the league with 28 goals, but he hasn't shown the same brilliant form since he won his third Ballon d'Or award in early January.

Read more on:    real madrid  |  la liga  |  cristiano ronaldo  |  soccer

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