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Real Salt Lake re-sign Plata as DP


Real with clean bill of health

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho looks set to have all 25 senior squad players available for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Galatasaray at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

• Blog: Zaragoza rains on Real

Xabi Alonso, Raphael Varane and Fabio Coentrao sat out Saturday's 1-1 La Liga draw at Real Zaragoza due to fitness concerns, but all three have reportedly returned to full training with their team-mates. This means Mourinho could name the same starting XI that won 2-1 at Manchester United in their last-16 second leg as he looks to gain an advantage ahead of next Tuesday's return game in Istanbul.

Iker Casillas has also recovered from his broken hand, but Mourinho confirmed after Saturday's game that the club captain would not return to his matchday squad until next weekend's La Liga home clash with Levante.

Sergio Ramos should therefore again wear the armband against the Turkish side. Speaking with reporters after the Zaragoza draw, the defender backed his boss' right to choose the starting team, and hailed the benefits of having such strong competition for places in the squad.

"Mourinho decides and names the XI," Ramos said. "The positive thing is that Casillas is back with the squad. With the goalkeepers we have we are covered as far as the goal is concerned. Also, the competition is good for everyone. There is no preference between Varane and Pepe [to start at centre-back]. When the time comes, the coach is the one who chooses."

With Barcelona also drawing on Saturday (2-2 at Celta Vigo), Los Blancos remain 13 points behind the Liga leaders, and Ramos feels his side missed out on a chance to improve morale ahead of the Galatasaray clash by failing to secure all three points against Zaragoza.

"A win would have been an emotional boost ahead of the Champions League match, but it was not to be," he said. "When you lose you cannot go home happy. It was a chance to close the gap with the leaders, and thinking about the Champions League is not an excuse because we like to take things game by game. We had chances to go ahead on the scoreboard, but we were not clinical enough in front of goal."

Asked if Burak Yilmaz - currently joint-top Champions League goalscorer with Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo on eight strikes so far - would be Galatasaray's main threat on Wednesday ahead of more renowned team-mates Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, Ramos was cautious.

"He is an important player for them, but the game is not just about Yilmaz," he said. "They are a dangerous side on a collective level, not just individually."


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