Speaking ahead of Real Madrida s opening fixture against Sporting Gijon, Rafa Benitez indicated that he could use Cristiano Ronaldo as a striker along with Jese Rodriguez and Mayoral as Karim Benzema remains sidelined with a thigh injury.

Having refused to sign Chicharito from Manchester United following his year-long loan spell, Real Madrid do not have a supporting striker in their squad in order to support the Frenchman.

Ronaldo Could Be Used As A No 9 In Benzemaa s Absence

However, as reported by Marca, Benitez claimed that he was open to the idea of using Cristiano Ronaldo as a striker along with Jese Rodriguez, if the situation demanded so.

a We also have Cristiano Ronaldo, Jes and Borja Mayoral. We’re not looking for another number 9 right now.”

Kovacic available for selection as Isco and Rodriguez jostle for a spot

Meanwhile, new signing Mateo Kovacic has been called up for the away trip but it seems unlikely that the Croatian international will be handed his debut against Sporting Gijon. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are expected to start in the midfield.

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Kovacic has been called up for Real Madrid's opening fixture against Sporting Gijon

Kovacic has been called up for Real Madrid’s opening fixture against Sporting Gijon

It will be interesting to see how Real Madrid shape up in their opening fixture with both Isco and James Rodriguez vying for a spot. Both the midfielders have had a successful pre-season tour and it will be difficult for the manager to pick one over the other. However, the Spaniard could opt to use Cristiano Ronaldo as a striker in front of Gareth Bale, with Isco and Rodriguez operating down the flanks.