MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead of this weekend's matches:
Cristiano Ronaldo is confident he will recover from a sprained right ankle in time for Real Madrid's top-of-the-table clash at Sevilla on Sunday.
"I have a few days to recuperate and hope to be okay for Sunday. I think I will make it," Ronaldo told local television station Telemadrid.
The Portuguese forward, who has scored nine goals in seven matches this season, picked up the injury in Real's 3-0 Champions League win over Olympique Marseille on Wednesday.
Third-placed Sevilla have won six consecutive games in all competitions and are three points behind leaders Real.
"If Cristiano doesn't play because of his injury but makes all the other games, it is better, but if he does play it will be good for the spectacle," Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez told Radio Marca.
Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic is back in training with the rest of the squad but Thierry Henry is still struggling with a thigh strain ahead of the visit of Almeria on Saturday.
"It's difficult to go for a victory away to Barcelona, but not impossible. Espanyol achieved it last year playing a particular way and that's a good reference point," Almeria coach Hugo Sanchez said.
Atletico Madrid's 18-year-old goalkeeper David De Gea is to make his La Liga debut at home to promoted Real Zaragoza on Saturday, with first-choice Sergio Asenjo at the Under-20 World Cup, and reserve stopper Roberto out with a torn thigh muscle.
It will be a tough baptism of fire with Atletico chasing their first league win, and coach Abel Resino's job on the line.
Villarreal are also chasing their first win and to ease the pressure on coach Ernesto Valverde when Espanyol travel to the Madrigal on Sunday.
After losing 2-0 away to Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday, Valverde said: "This defeat affects us psychologically especially with a view to Sunday's game. What is clear is we need to win that game come what may."
Four defeats in a row have left Malaga in 17th place for Sunday's trip to bottom club Xerez, who have yet to score a goal this season. "Xerez are playing some good football and people have completely the wrong image of them. If we don't go all out it will be a very difficult game to win," said Malaga midfielder Duda.
Real Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano takes charge of his 200th official match at the helm when the islanders visit Sporting Gijon on Sunday. His side are the early-season surprise-package in fourth place with ten points from 15.
"Last year we had eight points at the same stage, lost at Sporting, and it was all downhill from there," he warned in sports daily AS.comments