Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is expected to start for Real Madrid against Villarreal Reuters

Villarreal will look to win their third straight match on the bounce when they host Real Madrid at El Madrigal on 26 February.

Where to watch live

Kick-off is set for 7.45pm GMT. The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 HD.


Rafael Santos Borre's goal gave Villarreal a 1-0 win at Roma in the Europa League round-of-32 second leg on 23 February, but it was not enough to overturn a 4-0 deficit from the first leg. Fran Escriba's side have only won one of their last seven matches at El Madrigal in all competitions.

Nicola Sansone (hamstring) and Jose Angel (calf) are both sidelined through injury for the hosts. Striker Roberto Soldado returned from a knee injury against Roma in midweek and may start.

Real Madrid's La Liga title hopes suffered a dent as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Valencia on 22 February. The capital club have emerged victorious on only one of their last four league visits to El Madrigal.

Defenders Danilo and Raphael Varane are both out injured for the visitors.

What managers say

Fran Escriba: "Almost all games against Madrid, they are the favourites. They are the leaders, they're favourites to win the league and although we have options, they are still favourites. We have to be as solid as we were in the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but we also have to score a goal. We cannot leave the score at 0-0 because it is difficult to keep a clean sheet against this team." [via Marca]

Zinedine Zidane: "What happened at Mestalla can happen again because football is like this. Your opponents can always make things difficult for you. We've had little time to prepare for this game, but it is what it is. It's not difficult for us to get back up, we always keep our heads up. We know we can and should improve on things because this is a long and difficult season and for other teams, Madrid are always their [biggest] rival of the year." [via Football Espana]

Form guide

  • Villarreal (all competitions): WWLDD
  • Last result: Roma 0-1 Villarreal (Europa League)
  • Real Madrid (all competitions): LWWWW
  • Last result: Valencia 2-1 Real Madrid

Betting odds (Betfair)

  • Villarreal win: 9/2
  • Draw: 29/10
  • Real Madrid win: 7/10

Team news

Villarreal possible XI: Asenjo; Gaspar, Musacchio, Gonzalez, Costa; Dos Santos, Trigueros, Bruno, Cheryshev; Bakambu, Adrian

Real Madrid possible XI: Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo