Defender Alvaro Arbeloa has welcomed the fact Cristiano Ronaldo will return to the Real Madrid side this weekend.
The Portuguese was hit with a two-match ban after being sent off at Cordoba, missing the wins over Real Sociedad and Sevilla, but Arbeloa maintains his presence in the team for Saturday’s derby with Atletico Madrid will be a major boost.
“They’ve beaten us recently because they’ve been better but we are looking forward to going to the Calderon,” Arbeloa told reporters.
“Three points for us would leave them a long way behind and we’re as eager to play them as they are to play us.
“But the best player in the world is coming back for us so we are going there with a lot of optimism, while the four-point cushion we now have [over Barcelona] is an important step in the race for the title.”
Former Liverpool man Arbeloa recently commented that Atleti boss Diego Simeone has a section of the Madrid Press on his side, but says he has no problems with the Argentine, who is a neighbour of his in the Spanish capital.
“His dog is bigger than mine so I’ve no problem with him. If he needs eggs or salt he can come round to my house,” he remarked with some humour.
Los Blancos lost James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos to injury during the Sevilla game and the pair will be absent for the clash at the Vicente Calderon, while Arbeloa is almost certain to start, with Pepe also sidelined.