Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric are all being rested by Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane for the clash with Deportivo la Coruna on Saturday (10 December), as the La Liga game comes days before the Fifa Club World Cup. Gareth Bale remains on the sidelines, while the out-of-favour Fabio Coentrao has also failed to make the 19-man squad.
Los Blancos host Deportivo at the top of La Liga following last weekend's 1-1 draw in El Clasico, sitting six points ahead of Barcelona.
The Catalans will have a chance to reduce that gap next week as the Champions League winners will be in Japan, fulfilling their club World Cup commitments.
Zidane has talked up the importance of securing the three points against Deportivo, but will make wholesale changes in his line-up to have key players fresh for the trip to Japan.
"Six points are quite a lot but it is not enough to think that we are going to win the league," the Real Madrid boss said in his press conference ahead of the game. "What matters most is what we have to do, we depend on ourselves. The others winning or losing will not change what we have to do. Tomorrow we have an important game, three points are at stake, and we want to do everything we can to finish the year winning."
The French manager will be without any of the 'BBC' as Bale remain on the sidelines while Ronaldo and Benzema have been left out of the squad, along with Modric and Coentrao. Alvaro Morata is expected to lead the attack after the striker recently return to action following weeks on the sidelines with a muscle injury.
"Benzema was at the team's disposal but we're going to give him some rest. We have a lot of games and tomorrow we will rest him and other players," Zidane confirmed, while suggesting that Morata will take the Frenchman's place in the attack. "Tomorrow [Morata] is going to play. Every day he is better and he really wanted to play. He's training very well."
James Rodriguez may also have a chance to prove his worth amid speculations linking him with a January move away from Real Madrid. The Colombia international started in the midweek draw with Borussia Dortmund and Zidane has now claimed that he wants the player to stay until the end of the season.
"James is not leaving here, I do not want him to. We will have to wait until tomorrow to see if he is playing against Deportivo," Zidane claimed.
Deportivo are currently 16th in La Liga, 21 points behind Real Madrid. However, Zidane refused to take anything for granted, pointing out that the Galicians arrive to the Santiago Bernabeu following an impressive 5-1 victory over Real Sociedad.
"It will be a difficult match and not only because of their last result," Zidane insisted. "Maybe seeing Deportivo where they are in the table is a little strange, with what they are doing and the team that they've got. We know it will be a very difficult match. It is the last game of the year in the league and we will try to be well prepared and go in to it well."