Valencia must improve against Osasuna while Real have to cope without Zidane

Valencia and Real Madrid both face potentially troublesome home games as they continue their assault on the Spanish League title tomorrow.

Unbeaten in nine matches, Valencia will be favourites at home to Osasuna, who were tipped for relegation at the start of the season. Having lost 3-0 to Real in a Spanish Cup tie in midweek, however, the leaders will need to recover their confidence against the season's surprise team, who remain in sixth place despite going five games without a win.

Madrid are only a point behind in second place but have taken only one point from their last two matches, both of them away, while their opponents, Villareal, have lost only one in seven, although they have never won in the Bernabeu.

The champions will be missing Zinedine Zidane, but have La Primera Liga's leading scorer in Ronaldo, who has 15 goals so far and bagged his 51st for Madrid in all competitions against Valencia.

Roma were crowned Italy's "winter champions" after collecting an unprecedented 42 points in the first half of the season, and they lead by three points from Milan and Juventus, yet it is fourth-placed Internazionale who keep stealing the headlines.

After the week began with a shock 1-0 home defeat to lowly Empoli, the club president, Massimo Moratti, resigned on Monday, the vice-president, Giancinto Facchetti, took over control on Tuesday and the Brazilian striker Adriano joined the club from Parma on Wednesday.

The Inter striker Christian Vieri was ruled out for at least two matches by a thigh injury, and the midweek victory over Udinese in the Italian Cup was marked by a supporters' boycott.

Adriano said he would be ready to play in Inter's match at Modena tomorrow, when Roma host Udinese, Milan take on bottom-placed Ancona and Juventus visit Empoli.

A potentially explosive meeting between Marseilles and Paris St-Germain at the Stade Velodrome today tops the bill in the second round of the French Cup.

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