The Mercury

Real gunning for record


MADRID: Real Madrid have their sights on a Spanish record 17th consecutiv­e league victory when they host Villarreal tomorrow.

Real finished last season with 12 consecutiv­e wins, after Zinedine Zidane had taken over from the unpopular Rafa Benitez, and now aim to make it five in five this season.

Real equalled the 16 wins of the 2011 Barcelona team under Pep Guardiola with a 2-0 win at Espanyol on the weekend. The victory kept them top of the table, three points ahead of Barca and Las Palmas.

The Catalan media has claimed that the record of consecutiv­e wins has to be within a particular season, as happened with Barca five years ago. But the Real players are paying no attention at all to that claim. “To establish a new record of wins would be wonderful,” captain Sergio Ramos said.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale both missed the Espanyol game, but should both be fit by tomorrow.

However, midfield anchorman Casemiro will probably miss out after limping out of the Espanyol game with a pulled muscle.

Meanwhile, unbeaten Villarreal go to Madrid in good spirits after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat of Real Sociedad, which left them in sixth place.

The Yellows will again be without injured strikers Roberto Soldado and Cedric Bakambu, though they will be able to count on Nicola Sansone, the two-goal hero against Real Sociedad. – dpa

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