UPDATED – Stage Set!
Ronaldo slipped past his marker to leap high and head over the advancing Timon Wellenreuther, who was left without a chance. Dani Carvajal delivered the cross from the right hand side, and it was a beauty inside the penalty area.
Experienced striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been forced to leave the game early for Schalke after picking up an injury in a 50-50 challenge.
(Sporting Alert) — Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Real Madrid in tonight’s Champions League round of 16 first leg clash at Schalke.
Ronaldo has been struggling with his form in 2015 and hasn’t scored a goal in last three games, but manager Carlo Ancelotti had no intentions of dropping the 30-year-old, who he tipped to be a difference-maker in this contest tonight.
The Portugal international starts in the attack alongside Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, while Spanish playmaker Isco will be the main supporter.
Ancelotti has also decided to hand Lucas Silva his first game for the club after joining from Cruzeiro in the January transfer window.
Silva plays alongside Toni Kroos in the middle of the park and Ancelotti is hoping the pair will control and dictate the tempo.
Portugal center back Pepe returns to lead things in the backline in place on Nacho, and partners Raphael Varane in the heart of the defense. Dani Carvajal, who comes in at right-back for Alvaro Arbeloa and Marcelo also play in a strong back four.
Javier Hernandez, Alvaro Arbeloa, Jese and Asier Illarramendi all start on the substitutes bench.
Meanwhile, Holland forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who had a spell at Real Madrid, leads the attack for Schalke, with Kevin-Prince Boateng and Maxim Choupo-Moting also in the lineup.
Real Madrid come into this game with a very impressive record in the Champions League this season after winning all six of their group matches.
The Spanish giants are hoping to become the first team in Champions League era to repeat as champions.
A victory tonight for Real Madrid will see them equalling the longest ever winning streak in Champions League history, with 10 victories, which was set by former champions Bayern Munich in 2013.
Schalke, who have been one of the top German sides in and around Europe in recent years, sits fourth in the Bundesliga standings at the moment following a series of good performances, which saw them moving up from 11th place.
Schalke XI: Wellenreuther, Uchida, Howedes, Matip, Nastasic, Aogo, Neustadter, Hoger, Boateng, Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar. Subs: Wetklo, Ayhan, Fuchs, Kirchhoff, Platte, Barnetta, Meyer.
Real Madrid XI: Casillas, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Carvajal, Ronaldo, Kroos, Bale, Lucas Silva, Isco, Benzema. Subs: Keylor Navas, Arbeloa, Nacho, Medran, Illarramendi, Jese, Chicharito