As Real Madrid gear up to face Athletic Bilbao away from home, Ancelotti confirms Modric will not travel with the team.

Real Madrid travel to face Athletic Bilbao on Saturday in a bid to strengthen their position at the top of the league table. Luka Modric, who has been missing from action for a while now, will be kept out of the squad as Ancelotti confirms the Croatian will return to action against Schalke.

Ancelotti said: “Modric isn’t in the squad, and will be on Tuesday against Schalke. In terms of the midfield, I have doubts about whether to field Illarra or Lucas Silva or Khedira.”

The Real Madrid manager also spoke about teenage sensation, Martin Odegaard, who signed for Real Madrid in January. The manager however confirmed that the game against Schalke maybe too early to give the youngster a chance to debut for the senior team.

“He’s doing very well, following his programme with Castilla. He’s showing personality and quality. He hasn’t been here for long, training with his team-mates, and I don’t think he’ll be in the squad on Tuesday because we have Modric coming in.” Ancelotti said.

Real Madrid most probably will start the game with Casillas in between the sticks. With Ramos still out due to injury, Pepe and Varane are sure to start the game with Carvajal and Marcelo as the two full-backs.

In the midfield, Kroos and Isco will surely start the game and most probably it will be Lucas Silva who will accompany them. Ancelotti spoke about Silva and Illarramendi and showed that he preferred Silva ahead of the Spaniard.

“Sometimes the choice of one player is down to small details. In the first game Lucas Silva did well, then he played because Illarra had played before and he was fresher, against Schalke I liked how Lucas interpreted the match. It’s about moments and the choice of player depends on small details.a

Ancelotti has often been criticised for his choice of rotating the squad not too often. When asked about that, the Italian said, “I think that everyone knows that Cristiano, Bale and Benzema are good, but we have to evaluate what I’ve said. Sometimes they’re not at 100% and that’s normal. Competition within the squad is very important. Everyone knows, and the players know, how important it is for us.”

The manager also spoke about the progress of James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos, who are suffering from injuries and are on their way to recovery.

“James hasn’t started working with the team. Ramos is going to start on Sunday and will do a week of training with the team. He might be ready for the match against Levante.”