TEAM NEWS: Kaka earns rare Real Madrid start against Ajax


Kaká vuelve a la Selección de Mano Menezes / GettyImages

Jose Mourinho has made a host of alterations to his starting XI for Real Madrid’s Champions League clash with Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Kaka starts in attacking midfield for Los Blancos alongside Jose Callejon, with Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil making way for the pair.

Elsewhere Michael Essien and Xabi Alonso replace Luka Modric and Sami Khedira in central midfield, despite both departing players starting in the recent comprehensive Liga win over Deportivo La Coruna.

In defence Raphael Varane misses out at the expense of Alvaro Arbeloa, with Sergio Ramos dropping in to centre-back and Arbeloa starting in his favoured right-back position.

Karim Benzema starts upfront for Madrid as Gonzalo Higuain is restricted to a place on the bench.

The home side remain unchanged from their Eredivisie win over FC Twente at the weekend, with coach Frank De Boer lining his team up in their usual 4-3-3 formation.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson is sidelined with a shoulder problem, which means Ryan Babel again starts upfront for the Dutch side.

Ajax (4-3-3): Vermeer; Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind; De Jong, Poulsen, Eriksen; Sana, Babel, Boerrigter

Subs: Cillessen, Veltman, Dijks, Sporkslede, Schone, Hoesen, Lukoki

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Essien; Kaka, Callejon, Cristiano Ronaldo; Benzema

Subs: Adan, Varane, Khedira, Ozil, Modric, Higuain, Di Maria

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