La Liga Preview: Almeria v Real Madrid
By Football News
Real Madrid will look for Cristiano Ronaldo to continue his hot streak when they resume their La Liga campaign at Almeria on Saturday.
The former Manchester United forward took centre stage as Portugal achieved a 4-2 aggregate victory over Sweden in the FIFA World Cup play-off, with Ronaldo notching all four goals in the tie, including a hat-trick in the 3-2 second-leg triumph in Solna on Tuesday.
That followed an electric start to the Liga campaign for Ronaldo, with the 28-year-old notching 16 goals in 13 league appearances, and he tops the goalscoring charts by three goals from nearest rival Diego Costa.
Real will once again look to their talisman to provide the attacking impetus in the trip to the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos, as third-placed Real look to close the six-point gap to league 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, including a 5-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad in their last fixture before the international break.
Ronaldo was once again in impressive form on that occasion notching a hat-trick during the rout, and he is keen to return the focus back to domestic duty after his international exploits.
Speaking to the club's official website, he said: "We've had an intense couple of days with our national sides, but we now have two days ahead of us to prepare as well as possible for the next match.
"My only goal now, and that of all my team-mates, is to train so that all the Real Madrid fans continue to feel proud of their team."
Ancelotti will hope to welcome back Marcelo after a knee complaint kept him out of the Sociedad fixture, while fellow left-back Fabio Coentrao faces more tests on an injury to his right thigh.
The Italian will have to reshuffle his 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 their past three matches, improving their points tally to 12.
They will look to avenge the 8-1 defeat they suffered at the Bernabeu the last time the sides did battle in La Liga in May 2011.