The race for the La Liga title is quite close, with four points separating the top three teams —Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid — who are all looking good to clinch the prestigious title. Real Madrid have a chance of closing the gap as they host Sporting Gijon at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
On paper, Real should not have any problems in clinching three precious points, but they cannot take Sporting lightly as well. Sporting might be struggling in the relegation zone, but Real manager, Zinedine Zidane is aware of the need of playing some quality football against a side expected to fight to create a major upset.
"We need to be on our guard because we know we're up against tough opposition, who know how to play and who'll come here fighting. We need to make a good start and focus on the things we've worked on during the week," the Real Madrid official website quoted Zidane as saying.
Zidane, who has been in charge of the team only since the first week of January, replacing Rafa Benitez as manager, has been active in training sessions with physical work and the sessions getting shorter as they approach match day. Real fans are eager to find out whether such training methods are going to bear fruit.
"We do a little bit of everything in each training session. There's an element of physical work, given that we're just playing once a week. At the start of the week, we work a bit more on the physical side of things, and by the end of the week the sessions are a bit shorter, and always involve the ball. Such is my footballing philosophy," said Zidane.
Zidane will want Real Madrid, who have been handed transfers ban by FIFA for violating rules related to transfers of under-18 players, to come up with an impressive display of football and shun talks of the need of reinforcements as soon as possible. Hence the Frenchman will depend on Cristiano Ronaldo and other stars to deliver against Sporting.
Ronaldo has been in rich goal-scoring form, with 14 goals in the La Liga so far. Real possess the dangerous attacking trio of Ronado, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, who have all been among goals this season. Bale and Benzema have scored 14 and 12 goals, respectively.
"He's (Ronaldo) got my trust and his stats are there for everyone to see. If he doesn't score three goals it won't matter, and if he does, we'll all be happy. There'll always be talk of Cristiano Ronaldo, but I'm very happy with him and what I focus on is his work. He's performing very well, and I hope that he starts well tomorrow and that he scores many goals," added Zidane.
The Sporting defenders will be aware of the tough task of containing the array of attacking players in the Real's camp. Sporting, who have won only four games this season, have to play their best game if they are to make anything out of the game at the Bernabeu.
Where to watch live
Real Madrid vs Sporting Gijon La Liga live game is scheduled for 4 pm CET (8:30 pm IST, 3 pm GMT, 10 am ET) start with live TV coverage in India on SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD. Viewers in India can also watch the Real Madrid vs Sporting Gijon La Liga live game streaming online on Sony Liv.
Sky Sports 3 will broadcast the Real Madrid vs Sporting Gijon La Liga game live in the UK, while the La Liga action can also be live streamed online on Sky Go.
US viewers can watch the game live on Bein Sports, while the live stream option is available on Bein Sports Connect.
Spain viewers can catch Real Madrid vs Sporting Gijon La Liga live game on Canal+ Liga/HD and Movistar TV Futbol.