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The not-quite-fit Ramos may start on the bench for los Merengues...

According to the Spanish media, Raul Albiol is set to start at centre-back for Real Madrid against Xerez, instead of Sergio Ramos.

AS claim that, while Ramos is fit enough to be in the squad, he still has some minor discomforts after several months of injury.

As a result, coach Manuel Pellegrini is expected to put him on the bench, with Albiol at the heart of the defence alongside Ezequiel Garay.

Albiol also picked up a knock last weekend when los Blancos faced Espanyol, but he appears to have fully recovered.

Christoph Metzelder also succumbed to injury this week, giving Pellegrini something of a headache over his defensive options.

Meanwhile, Rafael van der Vaart has been omitted from the squad for technical reasons, while Metzelder and Xabi Alonso are both ruled out through injury.

Anthony Wright, Goal.com

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