Speaking before Real Madrid’s clash against Malaga, manager Zinedine Zidane revealed that defenders Pepe and Raphael Varane remain unavailable for the away fixture.
With both Marcelo and James Rodriguez suffering similar shoulder injuries, Zidane claimed that the duo was in ‘perfect shape’ and hence indicating that they could start the game tonight.
Pepe to rejoin the group on Tuesday
As reported by AS, Zidane revealed that Pepe was expected to join the group on Tuesday as he continues to recover from his foot injury.
“The plan is for him to continue with what he needs to do in the coming days, and from Tuesday he’ll be back with the group.”
Ramos And Carvajal are one yellow card away from suspension
Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal, on the other hand, could risk missing out on the Madrid derby next week should they pick up a yellow card against Malaga. Both the defenders are ‘on four yellow cards’ and hence are a step away from earning a one-match suspension in La Liga. However, with both Pepe and Varane missing, it remains unlikely that the Frenchman would rest either of the two defenders. Nacho is expected to fill in for Varane alongside Sergio Ramos.
Trailing Barcelona by 10 points, it is unlikely that Zidane will shuffle his midfield against Malaga. Real Madrid’s woeful away form will compel the Frenchman to field a strong starting eleven comprising Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the midfield. Kovacic could however come in for James Rodriguez in order to give the Colombian a breather.
Gareth Bale continues to recover from his calf injury with no official word out on his expected date of return, while Los Blancos also confirmed on that star striker Karim Benzema would be unavailable for the match, with a back problem.