Real Madrid: 5 key players to watch against Athletic Club

Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Dani Carvajal
Daniel Carvajal of Real Madrid (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /

RB Dani Carvajal

Dani Carvajal wasn’t credited for the second goal in El Derbi, but he absolutely smashed a half-volley from well beyond the box, beating Jan Oblak for pace. The ball ricocheted off the right-hand post and off Oblak for Real’s second.

Alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, Carvajal is in the conversation as the world’s best right back, and there is nobody more well-rounded or proven than the three-peat Champions League winner. Carvajal has shown his importance to Real Madrid this season, including in the Derbi with his tremendous defensive work against Joao Felix. He will have to be just as good on Tuesday night vs. the experienced and dangerous Iker Muniain.

CB Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane won’t have Casemiro protecting him defensively, so he will need to be on guard against the duo of Raul Garcia and Inaki Williams. In the last match between these two sides at San Mames, we saw Eder Militao make a goal-saving play to stop Williams from scoring. He is the star of Bilbao and a player whom Los Merengues must keep quiet if they want to win.

Over the past couple of weeks, Varane has been absolutely brilliant, and it is very easy to underrate him. He was the one keeping everything together when Sergio Ramos was injured, as we saw at the Estadio de la Ceramica and in the second fixture against Inter Milan at the San Siro. With Ramos back in the lineup, Varane can find another gear to his game and further the argument that he is the world’s best center back.