La Liga weekend preview

Friday 16th November 2012 8:42

Cristiano Ronaldo: Suffered eye injury against Levante

Cristiano Ronaldo: Suffered eye injury against Levante

Real Madrid hope Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit for Saturday's visit of Athletic Bilbao, which follows Barcelona's clash with Real Zaragoza.

Prolific Portuguese forward Ronaldo, who has already scored 19 goals in all competitions for Real this season, suffered a nasty eye injury against Levante in the Primera Division last week.

A large cut opened up above the player's eye after he was caught by defender David Navarro's elbow early in the match.

He played on after treatment - and scored - in the 2-1 win but later had headaches and dizzy spells and missed Portugal's midweek friendly in Gabon.

Jose Mourinho would not want to be without his key forward at the Bernabeu as Real look to keep pace with the top two sides in La Liga.

After a slow start, Real have climbed to third after winning their last four matches but still trail leaders Barca by eight points and are five behind city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Sami Khedira and Karim Benzema are also hoping to prove their fitness after recent injuries.

Athletic, who won just two of their opening nine games, visit the Bernabeu having improved their position with successive victories over Granada and Sevilla.

Barcelona are also at home to another mid-table side as Zaragoza travel to the Nou Camp.

Tito Vilanova's formidable team remain unbeaten after last week's 4-2 defeat of Real Mallorca took their tally to 10 wins from 11 games.

Lionel Messi, again named La Liga's player of the year this week, continues to tussle with Ronaldo for headlines with his double against the Balearic side having taken his total for the campaign to 20.

The other leading side, Atletico, are not in action until they face Granada at Los Carmenes on Sunday.

Their leading light, the much-coveted Colombia striker Falcao, has been the subject of renewed speculation about his future this week.

The 26-year-old has been highly impressive this season and has 13 goals to his name in all competitions.

After two scoreless games, he would hope to add to his total against a Granada side just three points off the bottom of the table.

Atletico's strong start may have been a surprise to some but Falcao is determined to keep it going.

He told L'Equipe: "Our journey so far has been great. We play very attractive football and the team wants to have a great season.

"We are going through a very good period but we do not get carried away. Many things can still happen before the end of the season.

"It is still early to talk about the title but I am convinced that we will be near the top of the table.

"The priority is to hang onto a spot in the Champions League, then we'll see about the rest.

"I'm happy with the start of (my) season but more importantly I realise that my goals can help my team win.

"I feel in very good shape and I hope it lasts as long as possible.

"I'm not obsessed with the number of goals I score, I just want my team to win as many matches as possible."

Elsewhere this weekend, fourth-placed Real Betis meet Sevilla in the Seville derby and Malaga, currently fifth, are at bottom side Osasuna.

Valencia host struggling Espanyol, Deportivo La Coruna take on Levante, Celta Vigo face Mallorca and Getafe tackle Valladolid.

On Monday, Rayo Vallecano go to Real Sociedad.

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