Key stars return as Real Madrid head to Villarreal

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Real Madrid will travel to Villarreal with the majority of their key stars rested.

Los Blancos edged out a 1-0 Copa del Rey win away at fourth tier CP Cacereno in midweek as Carlo Ancelotti fielded a starting XI mixed with young stars and squad players.

However, the veteran Italian coach has brought his big guns back for the trip to the Estadio de la Ceramica, but Spanish international Dani Carvajal misses out through injury.

Ancelotti will tweak the side which beat Real Valladolid 2-0 on their return from the 2022 World Cup break as his squad readjust to domestic matters.

Nacho Fernandez is expected to replace Carvajal at right back, with Aurelien Tchouameni and Luka Modric both pushing for starting recalls, after featuring off the bench in Valladolid.

Ancelotti’s charges are expected to depart for Saudi Arabia on January 9 as they take on rivals Valencia in the Spanish Supercopa semi finals in Riyadh.

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