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Ronaldo vows to give all for Madrid after Mourinho chat

After helping Portugal to consecutive victories in the World Cup qualifiers, Cristiano Ronaldo has reaffirmed his commitment to Real Madrid less than a fortnight after saying he was "feeling sad" there for professional reasons.

"My focus is solely on winning every game and every available trophy with the essential company of my team-mates and all Madridistas," Ronaldo said, after reportedly having a meeting with coach Jose Mourinho.

Ronaldo's off-field difficulties remain the talking point of club football in Spain and that has allowed team-mate Karim Benzema's poor start to the season to be ignored. The France striker hasn't scored in five games, while fellow striker Gonzalo Higuain has been in great form with six goals, including two for Argentina in their World Cup qualifiers.

Madrid's start has worried Mourinho, even if his team has won seven straight matches against this week's opponents, Sevilla. The pressure is on the Spanish champions to win a 10th Champions League trophy this season, with their first match coming on Tuesday against Manchester City.

Face mask

Barcelona will be without the injured Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez for the match at Getafe, but could welcome midfielder Thiago Alcantara back from an injury that had sidelined him since May. Carles Puyol could also return with a specially designed face mask to protect his broken right cheek.

Cesc Fabregas has been experiencing similar difficulties to Ronaldo at Barcelona, with the Spain midfielder failing to secure much playing time this season.

"I just need to do what the coach asks of me and that doesn't mean scoring two goals in each game," Fabregas said. "What I do want is to keep playing for Barcelona and working to my utmost."

Atletico Madrid entertain Rayo Vallecano as they return to the domestic scene following their European Super Cup thrashing of Chelsea, with Radamel Falcao looking to add to his goals tally. Falcao has scored six in three games for Atletico -- including a hat-trick against Chelsea -- and a brace in the World Cup qualifiers for Colombia.

Fernando Llorente could play for Athletic Bilbao for the first time this season at Espanyol, having failed to secure a move during the transfer window.

Coming off one of their most impressive seasons when they reached both the Europa League and Copa del Rey finals, the Basque club's new season has been mired in near folly since Javi Martinez's links and eventual move to Bayern Munich.

Martinez reportedly broke into Bilbao's grounds to fetch his personal belongings left behind before his transfer, adding more off-field distractions to a team that has looked distracted on it.

Irish Independent