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Preview: Diego López Could Feature As Madrid Face Out-of-Form Getafe.

Real Madrid plays Getafe tomorrow quite early in the day, giving the team a chance to close the points gap, even if only temporarily, on second and first place in the league. Mourinho's choice of goalkeeper will be of the greatest interest to fans.

Denis Doyle

It will be a rare morning kick-off for Madrid. Pepe is still missing from injury, and Casillas is out with injury, so the big question for tomorrow’s game is to see if José Mourinho decides to use Madrid’s new signing: former youth and first team player Diego López, who’s return home to Real Madrid was finalized ahead of schedule yesterday, from Sevilla, when the news about Iker Casillas’s injury made his early arrival necessary. He has passed his medical and even trained in the whirlwind of the last 24 hours.

Mourinho could also stick with Antonio Adán. His choice should signal who his first choice goal-keeper will be for a large portion of the remaining season. Previous Spanish press reports that Diego López cannot possibly feature are false: at the time of writing, he has been called up.

Sergio Ramos and Kaká – both suspended last week – return to the squad. So does Marcelo. Whether they will feature or not is unclear. Mourinho will likely consider this game a chance to get his defence and his chosen goalkeeper for midweek a chance to get used to each other in competition. On the other hand, he may rest outfield players. The injury situation necessarily complicates his choice of line-up.

Getafe are the Liga’s most out-of-form team at the moment. Their coach will have to watch from the stands as he has fallen victim to the zero-tolerance policy of the Spanish officials this year on mouthing off at the linesman. They have no wins in 6 and only 4 point out of 18 points. The game is played at the Santiago Bernabéu tomorrow, which doesn’t bode well either: Madrid remain unbeaten at home this season. Getafe also don’t have the services of former Real Madrid player Pedro Leon, or of Angel Lafita (a key player this year), Mane, or Xavi Torres. They have lost 7 of the last 8 outings against Madrid: significantly though, not the fixture earlier this season on August 26, when they won at home in spite of Madrid going ahead early in the match.

It is possible that their new signing, Sergio Escudero, will feature tomorrow. And their best player this season – the centre-back Alexis, who creates some danger off set-pieces – has his work cut out trying to stop an in-form Cristiano Ronaldo.

In other notes, José Mourinho turns 50 today. He has received official congratulations from Porto and Inter, Real Madrid, and many current and former players.

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