Real Madrid face Atletico Madrid away from home on Saturday and will have to do without the service of Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez.
Real Madrid faced Sevilla on Wednesday in what was a highly physical and tough game for ‘The Whites’. Ancelotti’s lack of rotation took its toll on the Real Madrid squad as Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez suffered from serious injuries in the first half of the game itself. On the other hand, Marcelo’s yellow card sees him suspended and unavailable for selection against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
The positive news for Ancelotti is that Cristiano Ronaldo is back and available for selection after serving his two-match suspension. The Portuguese forward, who has already scored 28 league goals this season, is sure to start the game alongside Bale and Benzema. Ronaldo is expected to make a big impact on Saturday in a game which Real Madrid must win in order to maintain a four point advantage at the top of the table.
The main concern for Real Madrid remains the James Rodriguez injury. ‘Los Blancos’ are already missing the services of Luka Modric, who is expected to return this month, and now the injury to James Rodriguez comes as a big blow as the Colombian might be ruled out for almost two months. James Rodriguez will be replaced by either Khedira or Illarramendi.
Ancelotti said: “I still haven’t made a decision about who will play in the centre of midfield. I’ll decide tomorrow. There isn’t that much of a difference between the two. Illarra offers more dynamism while Khedira provides more defensive cover”.
Real Madrid are also suffering from major injury setbacks in the defence. The experienced duo of Pepe and Sergio Ramos are missing from action as both are suffering from injuries. Ramos picked up a hamstring injury on Wednesday against Sevilla and is expected to be out for around five weeks. Nacho and Varane will have to take up the defensive responsibilities.
“Sergio’s injury is significant, he’ll be out of action for five weeks, but I have faith in Varane and Nacho. They’re very good players, they’re enthusiastic and keen to play. I’m certain they’ll perform well tomorrow and won’t have any problems.” Ancelotti said.
Another defender to miss the derby is Marcelo. The left-back won a dubious yellow card on against Sevilla which sees him suspended for one game. However, the good news is the availability of Coentrao who is expected to start the game in place of the Brazilian.