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AS.com | 08/11/2012
Cristiano Ronaldo will be Real Madrid's main striker when they face Levante on Sunday night.
With Gonzalo Higuaín and Karim Benzema injured, José Mourinho has no other option than to play the Portuguese forward as a centre forward.
At the end of Madrid's 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund, Madrid had four forwards on the pitch - Ángel Di María, Mesut Özil and José Callejón, in addition to Ronaldo - with Callejón and Di María expected to play alongside Ronaldo in an attacking three and Álvaro Morata being named as a substitute.
Although Ronaldo is rarely played so far forward, it will not be the first time he has played as the centre forward for Madrid. He played in this position on 27 April 2011, in the first leg of the Champions League semi final with Barcelona at the Bernabéu, and finished the game frustrated with a lack of chances and was angry with Mourinho's tactics, declaring in a post-match interview: "I don't like playing in this position, but I have to adapt to whatever role the team want me to play."
Mourinho left Ronaldo in the stands for the following game, against Real Zaragoza, which Madrid lost 2-3.
But now the situation is different to then: Ronaldo is obliged to play as a centre-forward due to injuries, and this time will not put up any fuss.
The Real Madrid treatment room is currently bursting with patients, with Fabio Coentrao, Sami Khedira and Marcelo still injured, in addition to Benzema and Higuaín, although Coentrao and Khedira are in the final stages of recovery.
With both left full-backs injured, Álvaro Arbeloa will play in that position again, with Sergio Ramos playing right-back again, and Raphael Varane and Pepe the two centre-backs, the same defence Madrid had against Borussia Dortmund.
Michael Essien, who put in a notable performance against Dortmund at the Bernabéu, is likely to partner Xabi Alonso in the middle of the park, with three players out of Özil, Callejón, Kaká and Di María playing behind Ronaldo.