MADRID (Sporting Alert) — Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Real Madrid in today’s Madrid derby clash with defending champions Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo missed Portugal’s Euro 2016 qualifier defeat in midweek because of a knee problem, but the winger passed a fitness and will join his teammates for the home La Liga clash.
James Rodríguez, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale all start as well, which means that the Wales international could indeed be asked to play more centrally to allow Rodríguez to play further forward.
Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will hold things up in midfield, while Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Fábio Coentrão are among those playing at the back.
On loan forward Javier Hernández is on the substitutes’ bench alongside Raphaël Varane, Asier Illarramendi and Isco.
For Atletico Madrid, the main threat is expected to come from in front of goal and Mario Mandzukic will lead that attack, following his move from Bayern Munich.
Arda Turan and Antoine Griezmann both start on the bench.
But Koke, Juanfran, Raúl García, Gabi, Miranda and Diego Godín are all in the starting XI for the visitors who are expected to make life very tough for the home side at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Real Madrid XI: Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema.
Atletico Madrid XI: Miguel Angel Moya, Diego Godin, Juanfran, Miranda, Guilherme Siqueira, Gabi, Raul Garcia, Koke, Tiago, Raul Jimenez, Mario Mandzukic.