Ahead of Real Madrid’s la Liga match against Villarreal, Rafael Benitez will name a strong starting eleven after resting his key players in the midweek champions league victory against Malmo. Sergio Ramos and Pepe have both recovered from injury, and are expected to pair at centre half.

The likes of Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, and Isco have been named in the 19-man squad for Real Madrid after being rested in midweek. But the big news for the visitors is that Sergio Ramos is fit for selection.

Ramos returns

The Spaniard has been struggling with injuries lately, but is now fit to play after recovering from a shoulder injury. Benitez has named him in the 19-man squad, but says he will decide before the game if he should start.

“He’s ready to play; we have to decide on the line-up because I still haven’t picked it, but he’s fit to play”, Rafael Benitez said in the pre-match press conference, as reported by the club’s official website.

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On Pepe

Pepe and Ramos is the best combination Real Madrid have at centre back, and Benitez is delighted to have them both available for selection again.

“He hasn’t surprised me; I knew that he was a really good professional and a terrific player. He brings a lot to the dressing room in terms of his character, personality and experience. I’m happy, because he’s over his injury and is helping us. I hope that he keeps it up until the end of the season”.

Cannot afford to drop points

Still five points behind leaders Barcelona, Real Madrid would know three points are crucial against Villarreal, as they face a series of tricky fixtures in the coming weeks.