Real Madrid prepare to take on Real Valladolid on Sunday night after coming out of a 3-1 win in the Copa del Rey earlier this week.
Los Merengues will need all three points in this match and they know how difficult it may be after they were only able to come out with a 1-1 draw the last time the two sides met this season in a match that was played at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Predicted XI –
Thibaut Courtois was able to get some rest as Alphonse Areola was the man in goal during the game against Unionistas de Salamanca. However, the Belgian is expected to make it back to the starting lineup for this La Liga match after finding his best form during the past few months at the club.
With Dani Carvajal suspended and Alvaro Odriozola completing his loan move to Bayern Munich earlier this week, it will be interesting to see what Zinedine Zidane has in mind for the right-back position. It seems like the ‘safest’ option will be to play Nacho Fernandez there in the absence of any natural right-backs.
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In the center, we’ll be seeing the return of captain Sergio Ramos while he’ll be accompanied by Raphael Varane on the night. Ferland Mendy is also expected to return to the starting eleven after resting in the midweek cup tie. It seems as though Mendy has edged out Marcelo for the starting spot under Zidane.
It was a little worrying to see that Carlos Casemiro wasn’t rested against Unionistas de Salamanca but regardless of that, the Brazilian defensive midfielder will be starting on Sunday night. He has arguably been Real Madrid’s most important player this season and whenever he’s available, Zidane is expected to call him up.
In front on him, we’ll see Toni Kroos come back to the team and the German will possibly be alongside Federico Valverde.
There is also a good shout for Luka Modric making a start against Real Valladolid but choosing between him and the Uruguayan is simply a coin toss these days. Modric was rested for the Copa del Rey while even though Valverde started the match, he was suspended the past weekend so he is able to be fully fit for this tie.
Even though Gareth Bale returned against Unionistas de Salamanca, he was taken off injured and therefore will be expected to miss this match. Personally, I believe that Brahim Diaz has earned the right to start this match but judging Zidane’s selections during the season so far, the safe bet will be for Rodrygo Goes to start on the left.
Yes, the Brazilian is young and has a lot to learn but he hasn’t been himself in recent weeks. However, we have seen what he’s capable of and he is able to create moments of magic out of nothing.
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On the left, Isco will most probably be the man chosen while Karim Benzema seems to be fully fit again and therefore taking his place up front for Real Madrid on the night.