Real Madrid vs. Atalanta: Breaking down expectations for each player

Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Fede Valverde
Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

CM Fede Valverde

Fede Valverde will start vs. Atalanta with Casemiro suspended after his yellow card in the first leg. Valverde has been a huge bright spot since returning from injury. He was an impact sub in draws with Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid, and he was one of the few players who didn’t stink in the first half of the narrow 2-1 win over Elche. Valverde is a Man of the Match sleeper against Atalanta and could be a secret weapon as the most robust midfielder on the pitch.

CM Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos is a hell of a player and is having a hell of a season to this point. One of the best “key passers” of the Champions League these last couple of campaigns, Kroos will look to control the pitch against Atalanta and set the tempo, especially when playing out of the press. Expect Real Madrid to lean on Kroos a lot for both stability in control of the midfield and chance-creation.

CM Luka Modric

Luka Modric and Toni Kroos changed the game off the bench for Real Madrid on Matchday 27 in La Liga, and Modric helped open the scoring with a gem of a cross with his left foot to assist Karim Benzema. I think we are in line for a “Vintage Modric” performance in the Champions League this Tuesday night. Get your popcorn ready, because we could witness some more Modric Magic in club football’s biggest competition.