Barcelona: Gareth Bale is set to make his debut for Real Madrid following his world-record transfer, when the Spanish club visit Villarreal on Saturday, just before starting their campaign for an elusive 10th European Cup.
The match at El Madrigal Stadium comes three days before Madrid travel to Turkey to play Galatasaray in their Champions League opener.
Bale practised for the first time with Madrid on Wednesday, the day after making his first official appearance this season as a substitute for Wales in a 3-0 loss to Serbia.
Madrid said star forward Cristiano Ronaldo was the first to greet Bale on his arrival to the club’s training facilities.
Bale will likely still need time to get fully fit after not playing during the drawn-out negotiations with Tottenham that ended in Madrid breaking their own transfer record for Ronaldo with a euro 100 million payout for the Welsh winger.
Madrid have won their first three games of the Spanish league season, but face Villarreal, who have also made a perfect start in their return to the topflight after one season in the second division.
“This is a chance to show that we can compete with anyone and fight with a team like Madrid,” said Villarreal team captain Bruno Soriano.
“Last season we dreamed of playing against teams like this. Now our chance has arrived and we want to play a great match.”
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti will still be without injured midfielder Xabi Alonso and will now also be missing defender Marcelo after he picked up an injury with Brazil.
Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad also play on Saturday to warm up for their Champions League group phase openers. Barcelona host a Sevilla side looking for their first win of the season.
Lionel Messi has scored a league-leading five goals in two appearances to have the Catalan club in first place on goal difference.