Levante vs Real Madrid Preview

Cristiano Ronaldo is a doubt for Real Madrid's Sunday trip to Levante due to the ankle injury he picked up during the midweek Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb.

Real Madrid players celebrate against Tianjin Teda

Ronaldo was on the receiving end of several heavy challenges during the 1-0 triumph in Croatia with one, from Jerko Leko, causing an ankle wound which required stitches after the game.

The winger did not train with his team-mates on Friday and it remains to be seen if the world's most expensive player, who has scored 15 goals in his last six league games, will be able to face Levante.

A far-from-impressed Ronaldo hit out at the performance of Norwegian referee Svein Moen in the Dinamo match, and his team-mate Ricardo Carvalho believes officials need to give his fellow Portuguese greater protection during games.

"His ankle was bad and he felt the pain, it's normal that he was angry. We all feel for him because he's very important for us. A player like him should be protected. He's strong but sometimes opponents take it to the limit playing against him," Carvalho told Realmadrid TV.

"For football it's good to have the great players present and Cristiano has taken a lot of hits and he feels them the following day. We have to protect these players who make a difference in matches."

With Ronaldo in fine form - he scored a hat-trick in the opening-day 6-0 mauling of Real Zaragoza and netted a penalty in last weekend's 4-2 derby win over Getafe - Madrid have charged to the top of the Primera Division standings after two games.

That has left them two points clear of three-time reigning champions Barcelona, although Carvalho knows there is still a long way to go.

He said: "We have to carry on. We have to be ourselves. Barcelona play to win La Liga, so we must carry on winning every match.

"Everyone knows it's very important for us to win La Liga, and in order to do so we must be prepared for every game."

While there are question marks against Ronaldo's fitness, Madrid coach Jose Mourinho could soon be able to call on Turkey international Hamit Altintop with the summer signing training with his new team-mates for the first time yesterday.

Levante have picked up two points from their opening two games after drawing 1-1 with Getafe and 0-0 with Racing Santander.

New coach Juan Ignacio Martinez admits Madrid have a fearsome array of attacking options in their armoury, but insists his side should not have any fear.

"With space they are a team with a lot of potential. We need to be conscious that we cannot commit any errors. With the characteristics that they have, we have to be very fast to try and surprise them," he said.

"If I see that we need to look for solutions because we are going through a bit of a storm (during the game), we will do it, but there isn't any fear. We will play with courage and pride and try to beat them.

"You cannot rely only on defending and spend the game running after the ball because in the end they are going to strike."



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