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La Liga Preview: Valladolid - Real Madrid

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  PROBABLE LINEUPS


VALLADOLID

Hernandez
Rukavina, Serano, Valiente, Balenziaga
Perez, Alvaro
Ebert, Oscar, Ramos
Manucho

REAL MADRID

Casillas
Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao
Alonso, Khedira
Di Maria, Modric, Ronaldo
Benzema


Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had the luxury of resting some key players for los Blancos' Champions League win over Ajax on Tuesday, so changes are expected for the trip to Valladolid.

The defense is likely to see the greatest upheaval, with Sergio Ramos and Pepe likely to replace Raphael Varane and Ricardo Carvalho, while Alvaro Arbeloa also returns after serving a suspension in midweek.

Fabio Coentrao had to be withdrawn against the Eredivisie champion after pulling up with a hamstring injury, so Nacho may deputize at left back. Marcelo is still a long-term absentee.

Xabi Alonso will return in the center of midfield, which may see Luka Modric play in a slightly more advanced role as he was in impressive form in the Champions League. Angel Di Maria may come in at the expense of Jose Callejon.

Valladolid has received a boost ahead of the encounter with the news that key pair Manucho and Marc Valiente have both recovered from injuries and have been passed fit to face the capital club on Saturday evening. The former Manchester United man has shaken off a bout of concussion and the 25-year-old has completed his recovery from a muscle injury.

However, influential defender Jesus Rueda will not play again this year after suffering a knee injury against Sevilla last weekend.


  DID YOU KNOW?

  • The last match between Valladolid and Real Madrid ended in a 4-1 away win to los Blancos. Cristiano Ronaldo scored and Gonzalo Higuain bagged a hat trick.

  • Real Madrid is currently 11 points behind rival Barcelona in La Liga. It can provisionally cut the deficit to eight points with a win against the Pucela.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has been nominated for the Ballon d'Or five times. He won the award in 2008 and is on a three-man shortlist with Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta to win it this year.

  • Promoted side Valladolid is performing above expectations this season. It is currently in seventh position, only four points away from a Champions League slot.

  • The Pucela's top goalscorer so far this season is Oscar Gonzalez, who has netted seven goals in 14 games.

  • Miroslav Dukic guided his side to the top-flight via the play-offs last season. Valladolid finished third in the Segunda Division.
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