Real Madrid Starting XI Prediction vs. Athletic Bilbao in Copa del Rey quarterfinals

Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Luka Jovic, Real Madrid
Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /

LW Vinicius Jr.

Predicting the starting forwards gets a little more difficult, because there are some real 50/50 calls here. For now, I will pencil in the all-important Vinicius Jr., who once again carried Real to avoid defeat in their last match against Elche.

Like Casemiro, Vini is currently on international duty with Brazil, but he is also expected to get rest in the final match against Paraguay. After all, Brazil have already qualified for the 2022 World Cup.

Thus, I will expect Vinicius, who wants to play every game and especially do-or-die fixtures for the club he loves, to start. If not, Eden Hazard could get another chance.

ST Luka Jovic

Karim Benzema is dealing with an injury, and while he wants to play and tell everyone he is good to go, Real Madrid must exercise all due caution with a vital superstar. Though Benzema is still going strong, especially in terms of his goal-scoring, he has recently shown signs of slowing down with a few disappointing performances in 2021-2022.

He must be rested to stay sharp. Luka Jovic did not impress in the last Copa del Rey fixture and has been poor lately off the bench, but he had two fabulous matches against Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid when Real Madrid needed someone to step up the last time Benzema was hurt. Jovic could do the same for Los Blancos on Thursday night.

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RW Marco Asensio

There will be cries for Peter Federico, who should be getting more chances in the rotation. But realistically, I think Carlo Ancelotti selects Marco Asensio. He should be more of a super-sub, but with Rodrygo Goes potentially unable to play and Gareth Bale likely not ready for a full start, Asensio is the expected starter. As with Vinicius Jr. and Dani Carvajal, check back closer to the match for an update. Asensio as a starter is subject to change.