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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Real Madrid continue their La Liga campaign on Saturday afternoon with Villarreal the visitors to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Zinedine Zidane’s side were held by Celta Vigo last time out in the league and are now 16 points behind leaders Barcelona, although they have played a game less then their rivals.

Villarreal, meanwhile, head to the Spanish capital knowing a victory will move them to within a point of Los Blancos.


Date: Saturday, January 13

Time: 3:15 p.m. (GMT)/10:15 p.m. (ET)

TV Info: beIN Sport (U.S.)

Live Stream: fuboTVbeIN Connect (U.S.)


Team News

Real Madrid are still without captain Sergio Ramos who has suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf injury, per Reuters.

Karim Benzema is also sidelined with a hip problem and is not expected back until later in January, per Marca‘s Pablo Polo



VIGO, SPAIN - JANUARY 07: Zinedine Zidane the manager of Real Madrid looks on prior to the La Liga match between Celta de Vigo and Real Madrid at Estadio de Balaidos on January 7, 2018 in Vigo, Spain. (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)

fotopress/Getty Images

Zidane is coming under scrutiny due to Real Madrid’s disappointing defence of their La Liga trophy as the team are so far behind rivals Barcelona.

Real look a shadow of the team that retained their UEFA Champions League trophy in May with key players Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema out of form, while Gareth Bale has struggled with injury.

The club also appear to have lost some strength in depth with Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez having moved on in the summer.

However, Zidane has said he does not plan to strengthen in the January transfer window and that he trusts his current squad, per beIN Sports

Madrid have been boosted by the return to fitness of Bale who started and scored twice in the draw against Celta. 

ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan said the Welshman looks in good shape after a lengthy spell out with injury:

After the game, Zidane also said the team had held a meeting to talk about their current situation, per Corrigan.

It’s therefore possible Zidane may look to make changes for the Villarreal clash, but certainly improvements will be needed with Madrid looking jaded against Celta.

Villarreal were also held last time out in the league, as they conceded an 86th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Deportivo La Coruna.

It was only their fourth league draw of the season and leaves them in sixth place in the table ahead of his weekend’s round of fixtures.

The Yellow Submarine may also be weakened by the loss of top scorer Cedric Bakambu who is set to join Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan, per European football writer Andy Brassell:

However, the club have moved quickly to replace Bakambu with Colombian forward Roger Martinez, per Marca‘s M. A. Rodriguez.

Martinez was named on the bench for Villarreal’s Copa del Rey clash against Leganes on Wednesday but could feature against Real Madrid.

Villarreal have the players to cause the hosts problems, but Zidane will demand a response from his side after a difficult spell, and with Bale back and in form, Real may just have the extra firepower to secure all three points.

Bleacher Report – Front Page

The 'greatest pandemic in history' was 100 years ago – but many of us still get the basic facts wrong
The 'greatest pandemic in history' was 100 years ago – but many of us still get the basic facts wrong

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