Real Madrid to face under-strength Villarreal in La Liga
Madrid, Feb 28 Real Madrid continue their quest for the La Liga title with one of the most difficult games that remains for them at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium Sunday night. Sixth-placed Villarreal CF visit the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium looking to strengthen their challenge for a possible top-four finish, or to move ahead of Sevilla, who are just one point above them in the table, reports Xinhua.
Madrid will aim to retain their four-point cushion over Barcelona or even extend it still further depending on the Catalans result away to Granada Saturday.
The good news for Real is that Luka Modric is continuing his recovery from a knee injury. Although it looks as if the Croatian will not be available for this weekend, his recovery comes at just the right time.
In his absence of three months, Tony Kroos has already played almost 3,200 minutes of competitive football.
That is 400 minutes (four full games) more than Kroos has ever played in a season and perhaps it's no surprise that the German is showing some signs of tired legs.
Nevertheless he will partner recent arrival Lucas Silva in the middle of the midfield as a result of Modric's injury.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale will lead the attack, while Rafael Varene continues alongside Sergio Ramos in central defence.
Villarreal go to the Bernabeu with the intention of resting key players ahead of their King's Cup semifinal against Barcelona Wednesday.
Spain international Bruno Soriano is out for the season with a knee injury while winger Denis Cheryshev, who is on loan from Madrid is ineligible for the match.
Coach Marcelino Garcia has already made it clear that players who took part in Thursday's Europa League win in Salzburg would not play.
That means regulars such as Victor Ruiz, Manu Trigueros, Mateo Musacchio or in-form striker Luciano Vieto will all watch from the sidelines making Real Madrid's task that much easier.