MADRID, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid will be without Cristiano Ronaldo when they entertain Villarreal in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday night.
Ronaldo will be serving the first of the three game ban which he received after being sent off in Bilbao last weekend for an incident with home players Carlos Gurpegui and Ander Iturraspe.
The strange thing about the whole affair is that while the Spanish FA decided to sanction the Real Madrid player for his actions, they have also decided to suspend referee Ayza Gamez for a month.
Whether this is as a result of pressure from Real Madrid or simply to take Games out of the firing line after the criticism he received in the pro-Madrid press is open to debate, but the fact is it won't make the job any easier for Saturday's referee Gonzalez Gonzalez, who was heavily criticized himself after failing to award Real Sociedad a clear penalty in their Copa del Rey game away to FC Barcelona.
Barcelona scored the first goal of the game a minute afterwards and the referee had no hesitation in sending off Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez for his complaints, thus tilting the balance of the tie heavily in Barca's favor.
It looks as if Gareth Bale will have finally recovered from the calf injury which kept him sidelined in midweek and he will step into the side for Ronaldo, while the in-form Jese Rodriguez will move across to the left of the Real Madrid attack in order to take on Ronaldo's attacking role.
With players such as Bale, Jese and Karim Benzema in the side Real Madrid should have more than enough talent to get over the absence of their star player, but it is also the case that when things are not going well for Madrid, Ronaldo has shown time and again that he has the ability to produce a goal from absolutely nowhere.
Villarreal travel to the capital in fifth place in the league table and pressing for a place in next season's Champions League. The team coached by Marcelino Garcia has been one of the revelations of the season after returning to the top-flight after a season in the second division and Marcelino has produced a side that plays swift one-touch football while looking to hit their rivals on the break.
They have a slight doubt over the fitness of midfielder, Bruno Soriano, while striker Uche is out of the game. That will give another chance to young forward Jeremy Perbet, who was decisive in Monday's win over Osasuna, scoring twice in the win.
Meanwhile former Barca and Mallorca Geovani Dos Santos will be key to Villarreal and Oliver Torres, on loan from Atletico Madrid, will also wait for his moment to make an impact.
It should be an entertaining game in the Bernabeu, but perhaps on Saturday too much attention will be placed on the referee.