Ronaldo returns for Madrid derby

Madrid, Spain ( - Cristiano Ronaldo will return from a two- match ban just in time to lead his Real Madrid side to the Vicente Calderon to take on Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Ronaldo earned his two-game ban for committing acts of violent conduct in the club's narrow defeat of Cordoba on Jan. 24.

Such infractions traditionally carry a three-game suspension, but much to Real Madrid's fortune, the Portuguese superstar was only out for two games.

The Galacticos did not skip a beat without their talisman, though, cruising past Real Sociedad last weekend before edging Sevilla at home on Wednesday to see their lead at the La Liga summit grow to four points.

James Rodriguez scored in both contests but came off against Sevilla worse for the wear after suffering a broken bone in his foot, keeping the Colombian midfielder out of action for two months.

But with a rested Ronaldo returning and Karim Benzema rounding into form, Real Madrid will be out to claim a sixth successive league win.

Atletico, meanwhile, will be hoping for a repeat performance of its previous meeting with Real Madrid this term, which saw Diego Simeone's men earn a 2-1 win at the Bernabeu. Tiago and Arda Turan netted the goals for the visitors, but Atletico has since signed Fernando Torres to the squad in order to add a bit of punch to its attack.

Saturday's derby is a virtual must-win for Atletico in order to preserve the club's title hopes, and a win for Simeone's side would give Barcelona the chance to move to within a point of top spot with a win over Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Sunday.

Sevilla enters the weekend in fourth place despite dropping two of its last three league games. The club will attempt to bounce back from a defeat to Real Madrid when it heads to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to face Getafe on Sunday.

Valencia saw its unbeaten run come to an end with a 1-0 loss to Malaga last time out, but Los Che, sitting fifth in the table, will aim to rebound on Sunday at Espanyol.

Rounding out Sunday's La Liga slate, Cordoba and Almeria will attempt to pull further away from the relegation zone when the two sides meet at the Estadio Nuevo Arcangel.

Villarreal nearly did enough to nick a point off of Barcelona last time out, but the Catalans survived the scare to collect three points from a 3-2 victory. The Yellow Submarine will be out to get back to winning ways on Saturday when the club welcomes Granada to El Madrigal.

Also on Saturday, Real Sociedad will hope to gain some consistency when it hosts Celta Vigo at the Anoeta and Malaga will go for a second straight win when it heads to Levante.

Monday's lone contest will see Rayo Vallecano take on Elche at the Martinez Valero while Friday's match saw Deportivo nab two second-goals in a 2-0 defeat of Eibar.