With Iker Casillas sidelined with a hand injury, the 31-year-old goalkeeper, in his second spell at Los Blancos, won the battle to begin in goal ahead of Antonio Adan.
In the absence of the injured Pepe, and the suspended Sergio Ramos and Fabio Coentrao, Jose Mourinho was forced to name a makeshift defence, with Michael Essien and Ricardo Carvalho stepping into the backline.
Angel Di Maria’s suspension also meant that Jose Callejon earned a place in the forward line alongside regular starters Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
There were no such selection concerns for Barcelona assistant boss Jordi Roura, who had a fully fit squad at his disposal, but still elected to make five changes from his side’s 5-1 win over Osasuna.
Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Jordi Alba were among those returned to the starting lineup, with Javier Mascherano, David Villa and Thiago Alcantara taking their places on the bench after their excursions on the weekend.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Lopez; Essien, Carvalho, Varane, Arbeloa; Khedira, Alonso; Callejon, Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema.
Subs: Adan, Kaka, Marcelo, Albiol, Modric, Higuain, Morata
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas; Iniesta, Messi, Pedro.
Subs: Valdes, Villa, Alexis, Song, Thiago, Mascherano, Adriano.