Los Blancos boss Benitez denies rift with star Ronaldo

In tonight's UEFA Champions League action, Real Madrid travel to Ukraine to take on Shakhtar Donetsk in Group A. Despite having already secured their place in the last 16, Real enter the match after two straight defeats. Their 3-2 loss at the hands of Sevilla a fortnight ago was made worse by a 4-nil pounding at the Beaunabeu by rivals Barcelona, raising the heat on coach Rafael Benitez.

The loss of form has prompted rumours of a rift between Benitez and Cristiano Ronaldo. The 55-year-old has dismissed any reports suggesting division in his side. The Los Blancos board of directors have publicly backed the Spanish coach with President Florentino Perez reiterating his belief in the appointment. For tonight's match they will be without defender Sergio Ramos and midfielder Marcelo who are both injured. Although qualification is secured, Benitez is desperate for a win to ease the pressure.