Madrid are in action for the first time in two weeks when they face rock bottom Osasuna, who are still without a home win all season. The European champions’ clash at Celta Vigo last weekend was called off by wind damage caused to Celta’s Balaidos stadium.
Zinedine Zidane’s men now face having to play half their league season in just over three months. However, the break has allowed Zidane to recover a series of important players from injury with the visit of Napoli in the Champions League also to come on Wednesday.
Full-backs Marcelo and Dani Carvajal have returned to training along with Luka Modric, James Rodriguez and Pepe leaving Gareth Bale as Madrid’s only injury absentee. Toni Kroos will be missing, though, through suspension. Despite languishing eight points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table, Osasuna have shown signs of improvement since Petar Vasiljevic took charge in January.
Osasuna have taken the lead in each of their last three games and captain Oier Sanjurjo believes they are on the verge of turning their season around. “We are strong. We have begun to show that we are competing,” he said. “What we want is for all that to come together for once and be rewarded in a win.” Third-placed Sevilla need to spoil Jese Rodriguez’s home debut for Las Palmas on Sunday after joining his home town club on loan from PSG if they are to remain on Barca and Madrid’s coattails in the title race. Atletico hold the upper hand in the battle for the fourth Champions League spot, but six sides are separated by just seven points. Two of them go head-to-head today as Espanyol host Real Sociedad, who can leapfrog Atletico with a win.
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Bernabeu to not be final venue
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has said the Spanish football club’s home ground, the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, would not be available for the King’s Cup final.
The final will be played between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves on May 27. Perez said on Thursday the final could not be played in Real Madrid’s ground, which is the largest neutral ground available for the game “because there’s work going on … there’s no other issue”.
It is the fourth time in the past five seasons that Madrid have refused to allow their ground to be used for the final and coincidently in all of those seasons their bitter rivals FC Barcelona have been one of the finalists. Meanwhile Josean Querejeta, said he would like the game to be played in Athletic Club Bilbao’s San Mames Stadium.
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