MADRID (Sporting Alert) — Looking ahead at the derby game between Real Madrid and defending champions Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
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There is an immediate good news for Real Madrid fans, with manager Carlo Ancelotti revealing star winger Cristiano Ronaldo is fully fit to start against their city rivals.
Ronaldo missed Portugal’s defeat to lowly Albania in a Euro 2016 qualifier this week with a reported knee problem, but Ancelotti says he’s ready to start this weekend.
“Ronaldo is fully fit, in optimal physical condition,” Ancelotti insisted, adding, “when he is OK, he plays.
“When he is not tired and there is no risk of injury, he plays. I don’t think he played too much last season.”
Ancelotti also dismissed reports suggesting that the Portugal captain is suffering a chronic knee problem.
“There were small problems but it was good,” the Italian boss said. “He scored a lot of goals. He does not have a serious injury.
“He had problems with his anterior ligament [in his knee] but he is fully recovered now. He then had a small muscular problem. He does not have a chronic problem.”
Real Madrid were shocked 4-2 by Real Sociedad in their last La Liga outing just before the international, despite taking a 2-0 lead inside the opening minutes.
Another tough encounter awaits them in Week 3 against Atletico Madrid, but Ancelotti says his team will be ready.
Following the departure of Angel Di Maria to Manchester United this summer, there have been suggestions that Ancelotti may be looking to tinker with his system to accommodate Ronaldo, James Rodríguez, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
It is believed that Bale could be asked to play in midfield so that Rodriguez can push further forward to join Benzema in the attack.
However, the former AC Milan and Chelsea manager says his system will remain.
“The idea will not change. We want to get back to playing well, the way we tended to do,” he said. “The style, the philosophy, will not change.
“This style and philosophy has given us a lot of results. At the end of last year there were times that we played 4-4-2 in defence, with Bale and Di María on the wings, but 4-3-3 in attack.
“I think it will be the same now. With the ball, it will be the same system.”
Meanwhile, visiting manager Diego Simeone isn’t expected to have too many “tactical dilemmas” with his team and will stick with the same style that won them the league and guided them into the final of the Champions League last season.
The departure of Diego Costa to Chelsea, though, is a big loss for Atletico Madrid, but the capture of Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich seems like the ideal player for the system Simeone plays.
In injury news, only midfielder Arda Turan is listed as a doubt, but is boss Simeone is stil serving his touchline suspension.