Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return from suspension for Saturday's La Liga 'derbi' at Atletico Madrid, a game his teammate Isco says always has a "special edge."
Ronaldo, 30, was sent off for kicking out at an opponent at Cordoba in late January, though Madrid's fans were relieved when La Liga authorities decided that a two-game ban was sufficient punishment, meaning he could return for the important game at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Carlo Ancelotti's side have beaten Real Sociedad and Sevilla at home in the absence of the Portugal captain, who turned 30 on Thursday.
However, the return of a player who has 28 goals and nine assists in 21 La Liga appearances this season -- and 15 goals in 19 derbies against Atletico -- is a huge boost to the Primera Division leaders, who will be missing James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos through injury.
The sixth derby of the 2014-15 season is likely to be another "fiercely fought battle," Isco told Los Blancos' official website.
"The 'derbi' generates buzz weeks in advance, with the rivalry between the two teams," Isco said. "We've been crossing paths a lot lately and it always has that special edge.
"You must not lose face at any moment. It will be a fiercely fought battle from the kickoff. We will try to do what we always do, and hopefully we'll be able to come out with a good result."
La Liga leaders Madrid travel across the city four points ahead of second-placed Barcelona, with Atletico a further three points back in third spot.
Diego Simeone's side have had the upper hand in this season's rivalry, winning two and drawing three against Real, with the most recent Calderon meeting being a 2-0 victory for Simeone's men in early January's Copa del Rey last-16 first leg.
However Isco believes the game was 50/50 ahead of kickoff, saying: "There are no favourites for a match at this level. We're both very good teams and we're in good form. We'll see what happens.
"Personally I don't think [the Copa win is an advantage for Atletico]. Each game is different and this time it's in La Liga, where we both have a lot to play for. We hope to beat Atletico this time round."
Talented playmaker Isco is likely to again feature in an all-round midfield role, where he will come up against Atletico's tough-tackling central duo Gabi and Tiago.
The 22-year-old, who drew a huge cheer from the Bernabeu crowd for a foul on Atletico captain Gabi late in their recent Copa second leg, said playing regularly in this position had helped him improve the physical side of his game.
"I feel like I'm in very good shape," he added. "This year I've been able to push on in terms of the physical aspect of things. I feel like I'm in peak condition and I hope to continue helping the team."