Ramos and Ronaldo fitness boosts
Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo look fine to start for Real Madrid at Valencia on Sunday, although Gareth Bale remains a serious doubt for their final La Liga fixture of 2013 having missed Friday’s training session with a thigh issue.
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Ramos sat out Wednesday’s 2-0 Copa del Rey home win over Olimpic de Xativa with a back problem, while Ronaldo was suspended. Bale was also absent due the muscle problem picked up in a collision with a teammate at training earlier in the week.
Madrid confirmed on Friday morning via a club statement that the Spain defender was back training as usual, along with Ronaldo who was suspended for Wednesday’s Copa game, while Bale was not yet ready to take part in the session with his colleagues.
“Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo, who yesterday trained alone, completed the full session with their teammates,” the fitness update said. “For their part, Bale and [Raphael] Varane worked indoors in the club facilities, while [Fabio] Coentrao [Sami] Khedira continued their recoveries.”
Angel Di Maria, rumoured to be keen to join Monaco in January, is likely to take Bale’s usual spot on the right wing at Mestalla -- where the Argentine winger scored twice last season in a 5-0 romp.
With Varane still sidelined Ramos -- cleared to play earlier this week when his suspension for last week's sending off at Osasuna was overturned -- will be partnered by youth team graduate Nacho Fernandez, as Pepe is banned and has already been released to begin his winter break early.
Ancelotti should return all his available star players to the side for Sunday’s game -- with Xabi Alonso, Diego Lopez, Luka Modric, Marcelo and Karim Benzema all likely to start before they head off on their Christmas holiday.