Cristiano Ronaldo has been declared “100% ready” for the Madrid derby as coach Carlo Ancelotti assures he will get it right with his revamped Real
“My confidence lies on two pillars,” said Ancelotti ahead of the visit of champions Atletico.
“I have a group of professionals that are very concentrated and Cristiano scores a goal a game.”
He added: “Cristiano is on top form. He is in optimal condition. He doesn’t have a chronic injury.”
Last six meetings between Atletico and Real
05.02.14, Copa del Rey semi-final, first leg: Real 3-0 Atletico
11.02.14, Copa del Rey semi-final, second leg: Atletico 0-2 Real
02.03.14, La Liga: Atletico 2-2 Real
24.05.14, Champions League final: Real 4-1 Atletico
20.08.14, Spanish Super Cup, first leg: Real 1-1 Atletico
23.08.14, Spanish Super Cup, second leg: Atletico 1-0 Real
Atletico boss Diego Simeone will be forced to watch from the stands after being given an eight-match touchline ban for his behaviour in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Real, with assistant coach German Burgos stepping in.
The Rojiblancos broke Barcelona and Real Madrid’s 10-year duopoly by winning the La Liga title for the first time since 1996 and beat Real over two legs to lift the Spanish Super Cup in August.
Ancelotti’s side, who did win their 10th European Cup with victory over their Madrid rivals in May, have not won a league title since 2012 and have started the season disappointingly.
Manchester United loanee Javier Hernandez could make his Real debut from the substitutes bench on Saturday, while big-money summer signings Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez are also expected to be involved.
Ronaldo, Bale and Rodriguez
Ronaldo, Bale and Rodriguez cost Real Madrid a combined £228m
Colombia’s golden boot winner Rodriguez has struggled to make an early impact since his £63m signing from Monaco, while Real are adjusting to life without Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria and Bayern Munich’s Xabi Alonso.
“I will find the right solution for Madrid,” said Ancelotti. “All the signings and transfers have been given the green light from the coach.
“It’s clear that a new player needs time to adapt. I am pleased with what James has done so far. It’s normal that he might have the odd problem at the start.”
Simeone has already downplayed his side’s chances of defending their league title for the first time in more than 60 years as his side again bid to defy the financial odds.
Craving the same start…
Last season, Atletico won 27 points from 27 to set the pace at the start of the season and build a platform from which they would go on to win their first title since 1996
A summer player exodus saw five of last season’s key players depart, including goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and top scorer Diego Costa – both now at Chelsea.
There have also been incomings, though, with France winger Antoine Griezmann becoming their second most expensive player ever after Radamel Falcao when he joined from Real Sociedad for £24m.
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Real Madrid’s Paul Clement on keeping their big players happy
Striker Mario Mandzukic cost in the region of £17m from Bayern Munich, while Jan Oblak, Raul Jimenez, Guilherme Siqueira, Correa, Miguel Angel Moya, and Jesus Gomez have also arrived for significant sums of money.
“We will go into the game with the idea of winning but we won’t have an excess of confidence. The derbies have been fairly equal recently and we have managed to break a run,” said Atletico defender Junafran.
“The Real fans now look at us differently. They have an incredible team and while some leave others come in. Their president says that they sign the best and that is possible for very few. They cannot complain about the team they have.
“We are a very strong team and we will use our strengths and make the most of them. We will not change our way of playing.”