Real Madrid: 3 key battles to watch at Atleti on Matchday 26

Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Raphael Varane (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid Manager Zinedine Zidane vs. Atletico Madrid RM Marco Llorente

MARCA has Atletico Madrid playing with a midfield three and Marcos Llorente on the right-hand side, though if Atleti go with a different formation, he could play even wider.

Llorente has his own position where he’s given freedom under Diego Simeone to cause all sorts of problems. He’s made good use of this role with Los Rojiblancos, breaking Real Madrid hearts ever since he joined the crosstown rivals after manager Zinedine Zidane did not have him.

The 26-year-old is Atleti’s second-most productive player behind Luis Suarez. Llorente leads Los Rojiblancos with seven assists, and he has more goals than Joao Felix with eight.

It will take a team effort to stop Llorente. Ferland Mendy, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, and Nacho will all have to be vigilant to make sure that the athletic Llorente does not get one over on them. He is always lurking where the goals are and has turned into something of a midfield poacher.

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The onus will be on Zidane to prevent the man he let go from burning him at the Wanda Metropolitano. Real Madrid kept a clean sheet against Atleti earlier this season and did a nice job of holding Llorente in check, but that might give the Spanish international even more motivation to play the game of his life with a whole lot on the line this Sunday afternoon.