Real Madrid play their last La Liga game of 2016 when they entertain Deportivo la Coruna in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday before they fly to Japan to play in the World Club Championships.
Real Madrid go into the weekend with a six-point lead over FC Barcelona following their last-minute draw in the Camp Nou Stadium a week ago, although that lead could have been cut to three by kick off time as Barcelona play away to Osasuna on Saturday lunchtime.
Zidedine Zidane has virtually a full squad of players to choose from, with only Gareth Bale sidelined as he recovers from the ankle operation which will keep him out until March.
Toni Kroos and Alvaro Morata made their returns from injury as substitutes during the 2-2 draw at home to Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday and could both be in contention for a start along with central midfielder Casemiro.
With so much talent available, it will be interesting to see if Zidane rests Karim Benzema, who was criticized for his display in Barcelona, but responded with two goals against Dortmund, or whether James Rodriguez once more drops to the subs’ bench after a rare start in midweek.
Should James not play that would surely lead to further speculation about the Colombian midfielder’s long term future at the club, while Isco must also be wondering if the return of Kroos and Casemiro could also cost him his starting place.
Deportivo are currently 15th in the table, but have started to show signs of life after struggling to score goals at the start of the campaign. The side coached by Gaizka Garitanto has scored 10 goals in their last three games and although they have also conceded eight, last Monday saw them beat high-flying Real Sociedad 5-1.
Romanian striker Florin Andone has finally hit the form he showed with second division Cordoba last campaign and five goals in five matches show he is the man Pepe and Sergio Ramos will have to watch if Madrid are to jet off to Japan on a high note.