Real Madrid vs. Eibar: Los Blancos get a surprising boost

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Stanislav Vedmid/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Stanislav Vedmid/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Many of Real Madrid‘s players were not able to get real rest over the March international break, as they were busy competing in World Cup qualifying matches. Los Blancos even suffered a new injury to their squad, as Sergio Ramos will miss up to a month with a new ailment. During the break, Real also received word of injuries to Toni Kroos and Fede Valverde, who were both expected to miss at least the return match against Eibar.

Valverde is still out and will also potentially miss the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals against Liverpool, but Los Blancos have received positive news regarding their other center midfielder.

MARCA’s Juan Ignacio Garcia-Ochoa reported that Toni Kroos was working hard to get past a muscular issue that prevented him from playing in any of Germany’s qualifying matches, which included a shock 2-1 loss to North Macedona. Kroos came into the break with the injury, which may have been suffered after his two assists in a 3-1 win over Celta Vigo.

Kroos “recovered quicker than expected”, per Garcia-Ochoa, and the MARCA reporter predicted the German international could be included in Saturday’s squad against Eibar.

Toni Kroos is in the squad for Real Madrid vs. Eibar

And lo and behold, Real Madrid announced their 20-man squad for the upcoming La Liga fixture, and Toni Kroos is in it.

MARCA’s report cautions that Zinedine Zidane could rest him up this weekend so that he is 100 percent available against Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday. Real Madrid will face Barcelona after that in El Clasico and then the Reds again in the following fixture.

It would be much better for Zidane and Madrid to take the safest possible route with Kroos, and the Champions League match is “bigger” than a home game against Eibar, whom Real defeated 3-1 at the Ipurua. But Eibar is fighting for every point in La Liga as relegation candidates and are the type of team that can make life difficult for Los Blancos. Despite the scoreline in the previous fixture, Eibar did play Real tough at the Ipurua and have a dangerous attacking player in Bryan Gil.

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As we saw in the 2-1, come-from-behind win over Elche in which Kroos and Luka Modric started the match on the bench, Real Madrid need Kroos in pretty much every match. I highly doubt the experienced midfielder will start so quickly after returning, but Zidane may have to call his number in the second half if Real struggle. Otherwise, why else would he be in the squad?