Real Madrid Vs. Rayo Vallecano, La Liga 2013: No Alonso, Modric, Higuaín To Face Spain's 'Cinderella'

Mike Hewitt

This match could actually be another opportunity for Kaká to show he can improve Real's performances. Mourinho decided to make rotations last weekend, and he will likely do the same against Rayo. José Rodríguez and Álvaro Morata got called to replace Xabi Alonso and Gonzalo Higuaín, who will also miss the game due to injury and suspension each.

Rayo Vallecano is the main surprise of La Liga this year. Paco Jémez's team is currently 6th in the table, and that means the UEFA Europe League would travel to Vallecas next season. That's a ceiling nobody in Vallecas expected, but Jémez is making his team play offensively with striker Leo Baptistao playing great football.

Real Madrid shouldn't care about La Liga anymore. Barcelona keeps winning and all Mourinho's men should care about will be played in about two weeks, when Real will travel to the Old Trafford and the Camp Nou in just a single week. Luka Modric, Gonzalo Higuaín and Álvaro Arbeloa won't feature against Rayo, all three of them suspended, and Xabi Alonso will have the time to recover from his pubalgia and will miss the game as well.

That's why Mourinho's called José Rodríguez and Álvaro Morata. Real's midfield is short of players for this match, and if Essien plays in Arbeloa's spot, Khedira will have to play with Pepe or Rodríguez besides him. Another option is to play Ramos on the right back and let Essien and Khedira play in the middle. That way, Pepe would enjoy more minutes in the center back position to start getting his groove back.

Upfront, Mourinho might be considering starting Kaká again. That's been Kaká's mission all season long. Cristiano Ronaldo could enjoy some rest, but the Portuguese player usually prefers to keep playing and scoring goals for his team. Benzema needs to wake up, and he might benefit from playing this kind of games in the Bernabéu to regain some confidence. Callejón, Di María, Özil and Morata would fight for one spot if Kaká, Ronaldo and Benzema are set to start.

Marcelo has missed the list for the second game in a row. He's clearly out of shape, and it seems that Mourinho isn't happy with that. The Brazilian player was one of the reasons why the team's left flank was unstoppable before, so he should be working hard to get in shape quickly. Until that happens, Fabio Coentrao will be the team's left back. Coentrao has been playing quite well recently, but everyone knows he's not capable of helping the team offensively as much as Marcelo would.

The team has been lacking the motivation needed to play matches like this one against Rayo, but Jémez's team should be a good challenge to let the team and the Bernabéu know Mourinho's men will still compete.

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