Los Blancos will be hoping to snatch a resounding victory in their first domestic cup game of the 2013/14 season. The two biggest exclusions for this fixture are Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso. The former has resumed training but will only return to action next Tuesday against Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League. The latter, meanwhile, is not totally fit and thus will not be risked to play on Xativa’s artificial turf.
Carlo Ancelotti otherwise named his strongest squad available but Gareth Bale had to pull out hours before the game "due to a mild case of flu" as reporters. Youngsters Jese and Morata have also been called up and may earn enough playing time to continue their progress at senior level.
Having ended the 2012/13 season in disappointment, the Spanish giants have promised their fans to take each competition very seriously this term. Bad luck denied them from lifting the Copa del Rey title back in May and the time has arrived to start all over again.
Real Madrid are third in the Spanish Primera Division. In Europe, they have booked their place in the Round of 16. The Copa del Rey therefore serves them with a new challenge and coach Carlo Ancelotti is up for it, as he told the club’s official website:
“We are starting in another competition and we have to do well because we are playing against a team that have high hopes and so do all of their fans. We are going to try to play well and stay focused.
“We're not used to playing in that type of pitch, but that’s fine. All the players are focused on the match and it is an important competition for us.”
Watch Olímpic de Xàtiva vs Real Madrid live on Saturday, December 7, 2013:
In Canada at 16:00 ET on: beIN Sport Play Canada
Visit the Xativa-Real Madrid match page for live scores and more live listings.