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Osasuna Vs. Real Madrid, La Liga 2012: Mourinho Forced To Find A Substitute For Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid will have to play without its star player who had an scoring streak going on. Cristiano Ronaldo had scored five goals in just two games, but his yellow card against Real Sociedad will make him miss the game. Jose Mourinho will have to choose one player out of Callejón, Di María, Higuaín or Kaká to replace the Portuguese star.

Denis Doyle

This game will be remembered as Marcelo's return to the team's list. The Brazilian player missed three months of action, but he seems ready to enjoy some time on the field once again. Fàbio Coentrao will also be able to play for Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho's team will try to end the first half of this Liga BBVA season in winning fashion, but they will have to do it without Cristiano Ronaldo. The team's leading scorer saw his fifth yellow card against Real Sociedad and is suspended for this match.That means Mourinho will need to find somebody who is able to fill Ronaldo's spot on Real Madrid's left wing. Of all the options he has (Callejón, Di María, Kaká), an Higuaín-Benzema partnership is quite appealing. It's been quite a long time since Real Madrid lined up these two players at the same time, and considering Higuaín only returned to the team a couple of weeks ago, it's hard to foresee him getting that big of a run in such a cold environment.

Xabi Alonso seems to be ready to play after his neck injury, but Mourinho might prefer to save him for the next three games against Valencia. The Portuguese coach has tons of options. If either Coentrao or Marcelo play as the team's left back, Essien could play in Alonso's position alongside Khedira. Modric could also do that, but that would mean Callejón, Kaká and Di María will be fighting for two spots (if Higuaín isn't able to start just yet).

Mourinho has already said thousands of times that he will play in the Liga BBVA as if Real Madrid was fighting for the title. That probably rules out any chance of saving some players for the next three consecutive games against a much tougher Valencia team. Two of them will be very important, as the Copa del Rey is one of the two titles Real Madrid is still aiming to get.

Varane, Albiol and Carvalho will fight for two spots in the center of Real Madrid's defense. It's always good to see the young Varane play, but given the importance of the next games against Valencia and Osasuna's apparent lack of firepower, it could be better to play with Carvalho and Albiol tonight. Both of them have been working well and probably deserve some minutes.

Adán was sent off in the match against Real Sociedad, so the goalkeeper controversy won't matter for just one game.

All that matters about this match is keeping Real Madrid's good streak and feeling going.

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