La Liga: Real Madrid vs. Xerez
Cristiano Ronaldo returns from suspension tonight when Real Madrid takes on bottom club Xerez at the Nuevo Chapin Stadium.
The 25-year-old Portuguese winger was given the penalty for elbowing Malaga defender Patrick Jan Mtiliga in the face during a match on Jan. 24. He was fined $843 and was banned from playing two games.
“The sending off annoyed me but it’s gone and I come back with great desire,” Ronaldo said during an interview. “I think it was an injustice but the important thing is that it’s done and I am happy about my return.”
Los Blancos are five points off leaders Barcelona heading into the match, but Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini will be inspired not only by the return of CR9 but also by news that Argentine centre back Ezequiel Garay has recovered from his injury and will join the team.
Xerez has managed just two victories all season and has collected only 11 points. The Azulinos defeated Mallorca two weeks ago, but returned to its poor form last week with a 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao.
Meanwhile Iker Casillas will be setting a milestone tonight as he gets ready for his 500th appearance for the Spanish Giants. The 28-year-old goalkeeper has made a remarkable 368 appearances in La Liga, 101 in the Champions League, 16 in the Copa del Rey, and another 14 among other competitions.
The match kicks-off at 20:00 CET (2:00 p.m. ET).
UPDATE: Real Madrid defeated Xerez 3-0, thanks to an Alvaro Arbeloa goal and a Ronaldo brace.