Real Madrid vs. Valencia: 5 players who must shine on Sunday

Real Madrid, Nacho Fernandez (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Nacho Fernandez (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

LW Vinicius Junior

Right now, Vinicius Junior is an X-Factor for Real Madrid, and fans have to sing his praises for the effort he has shown in the last couple of matches. Vinicius faced all the pressure in the world after a string of poor performances and then Eden Hazard’s injury, which thrust Vini back into the spotlight as the starting left winger.

The 20-year-old was great against Huesca, slicing and dicing defenders with his dribbling. And then on Tuesday vs. Getafe, Vinicius was even better. He worked hard defensively, made great moves off the ball in the second half, and eventually picked up an assist for the opening goal with a lovely cross to Karim Benzema from the right-hand side.

Vinicius could very well be the Man of the Match on Sunday against Valencia, and he is a necessary forward for Los Merengues vs. the Bats.

CM Toni Kroos

It is great to see Toni Kroos back in the starting XI for Real Madrid after his suspension against Getafe for a fifth yellow card last weekend at Huesca. Kroos has been one of the top three midfielders in La Liga for another season running, and he is even in the argument with Kevin de Bruyne, teammate Luka Modric, and a couple of others around Europe as the best overall midfielder in the continent.

Kroos must control the game and direct play for his teammates, as Valencia love to pounce on mistakes and have a way of playing Real Madrid tougher defensively than they do their other opponents. So it will be on Kroos to make sure everyone is in the right place and executing Zinedine Zidane’s offensive gameplan.