Ronaldo and Messi nursing knocks

MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead of this weekend's matches:

La Liga joint-top scorers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, with 27 goals apiece, were both working to shake off injuries in time for Saturday matches.

With 10 left to play this season, Messi's Barcelona host Getafe defending a five-point lead at the top over second-placed Real Madrid, who visit city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Ronaldo returned after a muscle strain to help Real knock Olympique Lyon out of the Champions League on Wednesday, but was substituted in the second half and had ice strapped to his leg on the bench.

Jose Mourinho's side have had only 72 hours to prepare for the derby and will be wary of aggravating the Portugal forward's injury.

Messi was still having treatment on a bruised knee from last weekend but was expected to make the Barca squad while the injured Carles Puyol, Pedro and Maxwell are likely to miss out.

French defender Eric Abidal was recovering from surgery to remove a tumour from his liver and will also be sidelined, which means Pep Guardiola will have to shuffle his resources to find a partner for Gerard Pique in the centre of defence again.

Atletico, seventh, last beat their neighbours Real at the Calderon in the 1998/9 season and have already lost three times to them this season, in the league at the Bernabeu and in both legs of a King's Cup quarter-final tie.

"We have played really well in some games but the points have escaped us. We need to turn this around," Argentine striker Sergio Aguero told the club website.

"We need to be more precise in front of goal. We need to remember that Madrid always make you pay for mistakes."

Getafe, 11th, have only won once in 13 matches in 2011 and travel to the Nou Camp without suspended Ghanaian midfielder Derek Boateng.

After a long unbeaten run in all competitions, third-placed Valencia have now lost three of their last four outings, and will be seeking a return to winning ways at home to Sevilla on Sunday.

Valencia lose defender Marius Stankevicius to suspension while Sevilla, who held Barca to a 1-1 draw last weekend, will be without suspended defenders Fernando Navarro and Martin Caceres.

Villarreal beat Bayer Leverkusen to make the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday, Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi setting up one and scoring the other in a 2-1 win to become the competition's leading marksman with eight goals.

"Victories like this help strengthen morale... but now is when we need to keep our feet on the ground because there is still a long way to go," the US-born forward told the club website.

Fourth-placed Villarreal visit sixth-placed Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.


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