TEAM NEWS: Modric and Ramos return to Real Madrid starting XI for Rayo encounter

Jose Mourinho has restored Sergio Ramos to the Real Madrid team for their trip to Rayo Vallecano this evening, with the young French centre-back Raphael Varane making way for the experienced defender.

Elsewhere, the Portuguese coach has chosen to hand Luka Modric a starting berth in attacking midfield alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria, with Mesut Ozil restricted to a spot on the bench, while Karim Benzema starts upfront ahead of Gonzalo Higuain.

On-loan midfielder Michael Essien retains his place in defensive midfield after impressing against Manchester City during their Champions League clash midweek.

The Rayo Vallecano boss Paco Jemez has made a number of changes from the side that narrowly lost to Atletico Madrid on September 16.

Jemez hands a start to Andrija Delibasic, after the Montenegro international came on as a substitute and scored twice against Los Rojiblancos in their last Liga fixture. Delibasic will partner Leo Baptistao and Alhassane Bangoura in a three-pronged attack.

The Rayo coach has also decided to tinker with his formation, and has opted for a back four as opposed to his usual three-man defence, with Mikel Labaka slotting in alongside Jordi Amat at centre-back.

Alejandro Dominguez starts in midfield after also impressing as a substitute against Atletico, while first-choice goalkeeper Ruben also returns to the fold, having completed his suspension. 

Rayo Vallecano (4-3-3):
Ruben; Tito, Amat, Labaka, Casado; Carlos, Javi Fuego, Dominguez; Baptistao, Belibasic, Bangoura

Subs: Dani, Galvez, Gonzalez, Piti, Trashorras, Abu, Bille

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Essien; Modric, Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo; Benzema

Subs: Adan, Varane, Albiol, Khedira, Ozil, Higuain

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