Almeria-Real Madrid Preview: All eyes on Ronaldo
The Portuguese star sent his nation to the World Cup with a stunning hat-trick on Tuesday and los Blancos will hope for more of the same from their talisman this weekend
The former Manchester United forward took centre stage as Portugal achieved a 4-2 aggregate victory over Sweden in their World Cup play-off, with the Seleccao's superstar No.7 netting a hat-trick in the 3-2 second-leg triumph in Solna on Tuesday, after scoring the only goal of the game in Lisbon four days previously.
That followed an electric start to the Liga campaign for Ronaldo, with the 28-year-old bagging 16 goals in 13 appearances.
Real will once again look to their talisman to provide the attacking impetus at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos, as the third-placed Blancos look to close the six-point gap between them and leaders Barcelona.
Carlo Ancelotti's men have been in a rich vein of scoring form of late, chalking up 15 goals in their last three league encounters.
The Italian will hope to welcome back Marcelo after a knee complaint kept him out of the 5-1 rout of Real Sociedead just before the international break, while fellow left-back Fabio Coentrao faces more tests on an injury to his right thigh.
But there will have to be a reshuffle in midfield, after Sami Khedira tore knee ligaments playing for Germany, with a lay-off of six months expected for the former Stuttgart man.
Almeria are struggling at the wrong end of the table in 17th place, but three consecutive Liga successes have boosted the team's confidence.
Francisco Rodriguez's charges have seen off challenges from Valencia, Real Valladolid and Osasuna in recent weeks, improving their points tally to 12.
They will also be hoping to avenge the 8-1 defeat they suffered at the Bernabeu the last time the sides did battle in La Liga, in May 2011.
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Top 3 Predictions
Almeria 1-4 Real Madrid CF
- 15.01 %
Almeria 0-4 Real Madrid CF
- 12.56 %
Almeria 1-3 Real Madrid CF
- 9.76 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 23, 2013||Almeria 0 - Real Madrid CF 5|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||May 21, 2011||Real Madrid CF 8 - Almeria 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jan 16, 2011||Almeria 1 - Real Madrid CF 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 15, 2010||Almeria 1 - Real Madrid CF 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Dec 5, 2009||Real Madrid CF 4 - Almeria 2|
|Mar 9, 2014||Almeria 1 - Sevilla 3||LIGA|
|Mar 2, 2014||FC Barcelona 4 - Almeria 1||LIGA|
|Feb 22, 2014||Almeria 0 - Malaga 0||LIGA|
|Feb 15, 2014||Levante 1 - Almeria 0||LIGA|
|Feb 8, 2014||Almeria 2 - Atletico Madrid 0||LIGA|
|2||Hernán Darío Pellerano||Defender|
|25||Diego López Rodríguez||Goalkeeper|