Real Madrid have already won LaLiga, but that does not mean it will be smooth sailing for the Merengues before the campaign ends. Carlo Ancelotti’s job is far from done, as he has the unenviable task of trying to balance the squad’s health and fitness before the Champions League Final against Liverpool with the need to stay sharp.
Because the Reds will undoubtedly be at full sharpness, as they have everything to play for in another even title race with Manchester City. Meanwhile, Real Madrid have players who will give their all in every match and need to play, but they also need to be protected.
On Thursday, they will face a Levante side that, like Atletico Madrid over the weekend, have everything to play for in a relegation battle.
Here is a look at the predicted starting lineup for Real Madrid on Thursday night at the Santiago Bernabeu for LaLiga’s Matchday 36.
GK Thibaut Courtois
Andriy Lunin was exceptional in his start against Atletico Madrid, making the most of his first opportunity in LaLiga. But Thibaut Courtois needs to stay sharp for the Champions League Final. Therefore, except him to start this week vs. Levante. Lunin did play well enough to earn more starts, though, so a run against Cadiz is possible.
LB Ferland Mendy
Nacho Fernandez started at left back in Ferland Mendy’s place, so expect to see Mendy to return to the starting XI. The left back has been up-and-down this season, but for all his attacking flaws, he is clearly an asset to the Merengues.
CB Nacho Fernandez
Although another start for Jesus Vallejo is possible, Carlo Ancelotti will probably go with the safer option in Nacho, as David Alaba continues to work to return from an injury. Nacho will be key against one of the better striker partnerships in LaLiga, Roger Marti and the always-dangerous Jose Luis Morales.
CB Eder Militao
Eder Militao has returned to playing at a solid level defensively after a perplexing dip in form, marked by lapses in concentration. Hopefully, Madridistas have not betrayed the young center back, who has been otherwise excellent this season. Expect him to get one game of rest between the remaining two LaLiga fixtures after this home battle vs. Levante.
RB Lucas Vazquez
Over the weekend, Lucas Vazquez started against the tricky Yannick Carrasco, so we were expecting see the experienced Dani Carvajal back in the right back spot. Carvajal was magnificent in the second leg triumph over Manchester City, quieting the rampant criticisms regarding his level this season. However, Carvajal is not fully healthy right now. He must be rested. The right back will be vital in the final. So Vazquez it is.