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Sahin finally ready to start Real Madrid career

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MADRID (Reuters) -- Real Madrid have a number of key players missing for Tuesday's Champions League Group D game at home to Dinamo Zagreb but long-term injury casualty Nuri Sahin believes he is finally ready to begin his Real career.

Playmaker Kaka and Brazilian compatriot Marcelo, a full back, did not make the squad for the match at the Bernabeu along with Spain defender Alvaro Arbeloa, Portugal centre back Ricardo Carvalho and Argentina winger Angel Di Maria.

However, Turkey midfielder Sahin, who has only played 24 minutes since joining from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, told a news conference on Monday he was fit again and keen to get his Real career off the ground.

"I don't know if I am ready for the whole 90 minutes but I am ready to play," the 23-year-old, flanked by coach Jose Mourinho, told reporters.

"I have had to wait a very long time and now I am ready and I don't have any pressure," he said.

"Afraid and pressure are not words in my life. I am only happy if I can play for this club."

Sahin helped steer Dortmund to last season's Bundesliga title and joined Real as they seek to end Barcelona's three-year grip on the domestic title and chase a 10th triumph in Europe's elite club competition.

His only appearance this season was as a second-half substitute in Real's 7-1 win over Osasuna on Nov. 6.

Tuesday's game, when Real need a win to secure top spot in the group having already qualified for the last 16, could be the ideal opportunity for him to get some playing time under his belt.

Mourinho, whose side have won 11 straight games in all competitions, refused to name his starting team but noted that each time a player had appeared at a Champions League pre-match news conference he had been included in the lineup.

"Logic dictates that he will(start)", the Portuguese added of Sahin.

Real have a perfect 12 points from their four games and have not conceded a goal, scoring 10. Ajax Amsterdam are second on seven points and Olympique Lyon third on four. Dinamo are bottom on nought.