TEAM NEWS: Real Madrid duo Alonso and Benzema dropped for Deportivo clash

Xabi Alonso - Real Madrid

Xabi Alonso – Real Madrid

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho makes four alterations to his line-up for Sunday night’s Primera Division clash with Deportivo, with Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema the most high-profile casualties.

Mesut Ozil is recalled at the expense of Angel Di Maria and that sees Luka Modric drop into defensive midfield to play alongside the returning Sami Khedira, as Alonso and Michael Essien are both removed from the starting XI.

Elsewhere, Sergio Ramos moves out to right-back to accomodate Raphael Varane at centre-half, with regular Alvaro Arbeloa the man to make way for his international team-mate. Up front, Gonzalo Higuain is chosen to start ahead of Benzema, despite the French striker scoring during Madrid’s 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano on Monday night.

Meanwhile, Deportivo boss Jose Luis Oltra has also made changes, one of which is enforced, with Ze Castro replacing Aythami in the centre of defence, after the latter picked up a knock in training during the week.

Alex Bergantinos also comes in to the Deportivo midfield in place of Jesus Vazquez, while Oltra has opted to rest Juan Valeron for tonight’s match, and has picked Pizzi to start ahead of the veteran attacking midfielder. Riki retains his place in attack for the away side, with on-loan striker Nelson Oliveira restricted to a place on the bench.

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; Modric, Khedira; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain.

Deportivo (4-2-3-1): Aranzubia; Manuel Pablo, Ze Castro, Marchena, Evaldo; Bergantinos, Dominguez; Pizzi, Aguilar, Gama; Riki.

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