The 25-year-old wins the race to begin the match against Los Leones ahead of Angel Di Maria, while the Alonso-Modric-Ozil experiment is given another go in midfield
Coach Jose Mourinho chose the 25-year-old Spaniard ahead of Angel Di Maria to dovetail with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in the home side's front three, with a creative trident of Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric prividing support from midfield.
With Marcelo a long-term absentee with a broken foot, Fabio Coentrao continues at left back, while regulars Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe and Sergio Ramos make up the rest of the defence in front of captain Iker Casillas.
For Bilbao, Inigo Perez misses out selection with an ankle complaint, while Fernando Amorebieta also sits out the match after coming back injured from international duty against Venezuela.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao: Alonso, Modric: Ozil, Ronaldo, Callejon; Benzema.
Subs: Adan, Khedira, Kaka, Albiol, Di Maria, Nacho, Morata.
Athletic Bilbao (4-2-3-1): Iraizoz: Iraola, Jose, Ekiza, Aurtenetxe; Ituraspe Gurpegi; Susaeta, Muniain, Gonez, Aduriz.
Subs: Toquero, Llorente, Castillo, Fernandez, Lopez, Martinez, Ramalho.