PREVIEW - Real Madrid's misfiring 'BBC' under pressure
By Richard Martin
MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is under pressure to break up his misfiring attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale when he takes the La Liga leaders to Alaves on Saturday.
Zidane's first choice forwards have managed a combined nine goals this term, with Ronaldo making his worst ever start to a season in a Real shirt, netting twice in six league games.
The trio sat out the thumping 7-1 win over Cultural Leonesa in the King's Cup on Wednesday as Alvaro Morata and Marco Asensio each scored twice to become Real's top scorers with six goals in all competitions while Lucas Vazquez also impressed.
Morata scored a late winner against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday to put Real top of La Liga and Zidane has repeatedly been questioned as to why the young forwards have only been given nine starts in total this term.
Last month the Frenchman angered his critics by declaring that Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo, nicknamed the 'BBC', would always start when fit.
This week he again admitted his preference for the trio, who cost Real a combined 239 million euros ($260.96 million).
"I have three phenomenal players who are going to be very important for me," Zidane said on Tuesday.
"The rest may play less but they are equally important to me. It will always be like this, some will play more minutes than others."
Vazquez, who has made just one league start, signed a new contract with Real on Thursday, and said there was a strong harmony in the squad.
"We have a spectacular squad with players of the highest level and we are showing that whoever plays we always perform well. It's vital we keep on like this, above all for the good of the group."
Real top the standings on 21 points, one ahead of Sevilla in second and two clear of Barcelona and Villarreal.
Sevilla travel to Sporting Gijon, where a win will see coach Jorge Sampaoli seal the club's best ever start to a league season.
Also on Saturday, champions Barcelona host bottom side Granada, the only team in the league without a win so far, but with their captain Andres Iniesta and defender Gerard Pique missing through injury.
Atletico Madrid host Malaga after falling from top spot last week to fifth after losing 1-0 at Sevilla, their first defeat of the season in all competitions.
($1 = 0.9158 euros)
(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Simon Cambers)