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Big La Liga game for Real Madrid as Celta Vigo set to field subs

Madrid, Feb 4: Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos will make his 500th appearance for the capital football giants when they face a difficult La Liga match against Celta Vigo away on Sunday night.

Madrid, who lead the La Liga by four points and with a game less played than their title rivals, know a win in Vigo will be a major boost to their title hopes given that the trip to Vigo is one of the more difficult away matches left this season, reports Xinhua.

The game is likely to be made more complicated by the high wind and rain which have affected the northwest of Spain, but at the same time Celta’s continued presence in the King’s Cup knockout competition means it is easier than it could otherwise have been.

Celta knocked Madrid out of the Cup less than a fortnight ago and while Madrid have had all week to prepare for the game, Thursday saw Eduardo Berizzo’s side play a tough 90 minutes at home against Alaves.

The 0-0 draw in that game means the place in the fil will be decided next Wednesday and Berizzo is expected to make wholesale changes on Sunday with players such as Iago Aspas and Pablo Herndez rested.

Celta rested key players and still won away to Leganes a week ago, but it is one thing to beat the struggling side from the south of Madrid and another to be able to defeat the league leaders with a side made up of fringe players.

Pepe and James Rodriguez have recovered from injuries and will be available for Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane. However, Marcelo and Luka Modric are out injured. With Tony Kroos suspended, James and Isco will fight it out for a place in the starting 11, while Zidane has to decide between Alvaro Morata or Karim Benzema in attack.

Morata staked his claim for a place in the starting 11 with a goal last weekend against Real Sociedad, while Benzema has looked sluggish and off pace of late and could find himself watching the start of the game at least from the bench. IANS

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Ankur Kalita