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Football | Spain

Cristiano Ronaldo © Action Images

Mourinho backs Ronaldo to fill the gap



With Real Madrid's centre-forwards Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain both missing through injury coach Jose Mourinho says his superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo will play in the centre against Levante on Sunday.

"(Angel) Di Maria, Cristiano and (Jose Maria) Callejon will play up front with Ronaldo as the No 9," Mourinho told a press conference in Madrid on Saturday.

The forward formation Mourinho has in mind were in action together in the second half of their Champions League clash with Dortmund on Tuesday where his charges secured a last-gasp 2-2 draw.

Benzema missed that game with a groin strain while Higuain suffered a knock against the Germans.

Ronaldo has 11 league goals to his name so far this season, more than Higuain and Benzema's combined tally, as Real sit third in La Liga eight points off the leaders Barcelona on 28 after 10 games and five behind city-rivals Atletico Madrid.

Benzema told French sports daily L'Equipe this week his tally was low as he was on the bench too much, and when tackled on the player's comment Mourinho joked: "Me I spend 90 minutes on the bench every match!"

Defenders Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao are also doubtful for Levante.

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