Real Madrid: 5 players who must shine against Shakhtar Donetsk

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eder Militao
Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will open their 2020-2021 Champions League campaign at home against Shakhtar Donetsk, likely without captain Sergio Ramos.

Los Blancos are reeling after a 1-0 loss to Cadiz on Saturday. At no point in the game, did Real Madrid truly look like they were capable of turning it around, and they were lucky not to have conceded more than one goal in a nightmarish first half.

Now, Real Madrid must gather themselves for Wednesday’s Champions League group stage opener against Shakhtar Donetsk. They may be a smaller Champions League side, but they cannot be underestimated at all.

Here are five players who must shine for Los Blancos in this game.

Real Madrid CB Eder Militao

Real’s record in the Champions League without Sergio Ramos is quite dubious, because his leadership and inspirational qualities, especially as a goal-scoring option, often carry the day in tight matches.

That said, Los Blancos have an ideal backup for Ramos in Eder Militao, who has excelled whenever starting for him in 2020. Militao was the lone bright spot in Real’s embarrassing loss to Manchester City in August, and he was the best player on the pitch in that even worse defeat to Cadiz.

Militao will go up against a dangerous Shakhtar attack, and he must play up to his usual standard. He almost certainly will, as he was a Champions League standout at FC Porto, which earned him his Real Madrid contract in the first place.