Real Madrid return home for the first time in three weeks on Sunday to take on Getafe, with the Bernabeu crowd set to get its first look at record signing Gareth Bale. The former Tottenham attacker scored on his debut in a 2-2 draw at Villarreal last weekend before coming on as a substitute as Madrid trounced Galatasaray 6-1 in Turkey.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Cristiano Ronaldo has been at the top of his game since Bale eclipsed him, although the club denies it, as the most expensive player in history. After following Bale onto the scorer’s column against Villarreal, he completed his hat-trick against Galatasaray with a stunning solo effort.
Ronaldo’s headline-grabbing performance came days after he signed a new contract with Madrid to become the world’s highest paid player. And club president Florentino Perez has subsequently stated how delighted he is to have the Portuguese at the club, while explaining the need to add quality around him.
“We are privileged to have Cristiano in our club,” he said, according to Spanish sports daily AS. “He's one of those players that only comes along once a century and we are lucky enough to have him in our team. But the presence of [other] foreign players like Bale, the best Spanish players, like Isco and [Asier] Illarramendi, and academy players, is also vital to our project."
After making it known that he wanted to leave the club during the summer, Fabio Coentrao could be involved with the first team for the first time this season against Getafe. The Portugal international returned to light training, along with fellow injured left-back Marcelo on Friday, but the next match may come too soon for either to make the starting lineup.
Getafe got their first win of the season at the fourth time of asking last weekend when they beat Osasuna 2-1. The omens are not good for them heading to the Bernabeu, however, having conceded four goals on each of their last two visits.
Real Madrid (probable)
D: Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Arbeloa
M: Modric, Khedira
Bale, Isco, Ronaldo
D: Valera, Rafa, Alexis, Escudero
M: Mosquera, Michel
Lafita, Leon, Castro
Prediction: There was perhaps little surprise that, with Gareth Bale in the side and Illarramendi alongside Luka Modric, Madrid looked vulnerable defensively against Villarreal. That is a problem that coach Carlo Ancelotti will have to solve and it was noticeable that the side was better balanced with Angel di Maria and Sami Khedira in the starting lineup against Galatasaray.
With Bale likely to come back into the side, there could be further teething problems on Sunday. However, it is unlikely that Getafe will be able to capitalize and Madrid should emerge with a routine win.
Real Madrid 3-1 Getafe
Where to watch: Real Madrid take on Getafe at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. Coverage will be provided by beIN Sport, with a live stream available on beIN Sport Play.