Real out to end 19-year Riazor jinx
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo will not be able to play away against Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday after Spain's Sporting Disciplinary Committee (CEDD) refused to lift a two-match ban while their appeal was heard.
Coach Manuel Pellegrini had earlier named Ronaldo in the squad pending the outcome of the CEDD decision. As a replacement, he has called up youth team forward Rodrigo who is the fourth Real Madrid Castilla player included.
Ronaldo was given a straight red card last weekend after breaking Malaga defender Patrick Mtiliga's nose with a flailing arm as the two tussled for a ball. He was given a two-match ban and the Football Federation rejected Real's appeal.
Real hope to end a run of poor away form at Deportivo with a first win at the Riazor in 19 years. They have taken just a point from their last two away games.
Deportivo coach Miguel Angel Lotina said it would set a bad example if Ronaldo were cleared to play against his side, who are 10 points behind second-placed Real in fifth.
"It's logical that Real fight for him, but they know it is unreasonable," Lotina was quoted as saying in the sports daily AS.
"Our fans would like to see him but it would be bad for Spanish football."
Both Real and Depor are suffering from a spate of injuries and Pellegrini could partner Raul with Karim Benzema up front. Gonzalo Higuain, Lassana Diarra, Rafael van der Vaart, Fernando Gago, Mahamadou Diarra, Lassana Diarra and Pepe are out.
Depor are missing Andres Guardado, Felipe and Lassad among others but Lotina has proved a master at getting the most out of limited resources this season.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will rest right back Daniel Alves for the leaders' trip to Sporting Gijon on Saturday. The Brazilian suffered a knock in training during the week.
Seydou Keita is suspended but Sergio Busquets returns from injury while Ivorian Yaya Toure is back from the African Nations Cup and both made the squad.
Valencia, five points behind Real in third, visit sixth-placed Sevilla on Sunday with the league's second best away record.
Sevilla are without Serbia defender Ivica Dragutinovic, who has been ruled out for up to a month with a cracked rib. Ivorian midfielder Didier Zokora is back from the African Nations Cup.
Villarreal host Osasuna on Sunday without Spain winger Santi Cazorla who has torn a thigh muscle and will be out of action for four to five weeks, the club said.
Atletico Madrid's qualification for the King's Cup semi-finals is a boost for the visit of Malaga on Sunday but coach Quique Sanchez Flores has preached caution.
"When I see a solid team, I will tell you. At present I'm only seeing it in certain games. We still lack consistency," he told reporters.