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Projected lineups: Real Madrid vs Sporting, la Liga 2016

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James is expected to start.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real take on Sporting in what's expected to be James Rodríguez return to the starting XI. The Colombian player fell from grace with Rafa Benítez and new manager Zinedine Zidane obviously wants him to be an important player in this squad. Varane will also get the start, as Zidane himself confirmed during the pre-match press conference, as Ramos misses yet another game with a shoulder injury.

Real Madrid Projected XI: Keylor Navas, Danilo, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, James, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.

Sporting Projected XI: Cuéllar, Lora, Hernández, Meré, López, Cases, Rachid, Halilovic, Ndi, Jony, Sanabria.

Sporting have some decent attacking pieces in Halilovic and Jony but it should not be hard for Real's defenders to stop them if they play with composure. Other than that, this is the same team that defended well enough to earn a 0-0 draw against Los Blancos in the first week of the season. Things might be different this time around.