Madrid: Real Madrid travel to Valladolid Wednesday night for one of the most important games of the season as they look to remain in the race for the Spanish Primera Liga title.
Sunday`s shock 2-2 draw at home to Valencia leaves Real Madrid five points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid and two points behind FC Barcelona with a game in hand, reports Xinhua.
Now Carlo Ancelotti`s side have no option other than to take all points from their visit to the Nuevo Zorilla Stadium if they want to remain in the hunt for the title.
The big news for the game is that Iker Casillas will replace Diego Lopez in goal after Ancelotti`s comment last week that it was only fair the Spain international was given more game time ahead of the Champions League final May 24.
The Real Madrid coach has doubts over the fitness of midfielder, Luka Modric, who missed the game at the weekend as a result of a muscle injury, but has no other worries other than that of long term absentees, Alvaro Arbeloa and Jese Rodriguez and it is possible that Sami Khedira could get some minutes in the game as he completes his comeback from a knee operation.
Ancelotti will be hoping that Modric can recover in time as the Madrid midfield lacked creativity at times Sunday with Asier Illaramendi showing that he and Xabi Alonso are too similar in their styles to be a perfect midfield duo.
Cristiano Ronaldo will hope to continue form to end the season as the top scorer in La Liga and also in Europe. The Portuguese international appears to have put his injury problems behind him and has 31 league goals this campaign: the same as Liverpool`s Luis Suarez, but while Suarez has just one game left this season, Ronaldo has three in order to add to his total.
Valladolid also have a lot at stake in the game as they need all three points in order to climb out of the relegation zone.
Jose Ignacio Martinez watched Saturday as his side battled to a 1-0 win at home to Espanyol and they will have to dig deep again Wednesday if they are to take another three points.
Granada`s 1-1 draw away to Real Sociedad Monday night made Valladolid`s survival a bit tougher and as a result Real Madrid can forget any thoughts of an easy win in a game both Atletico and Barca will be following with interest.