Having lost out on the La Liga title for the past four seasons, Zinedine Zidane will be looking to make the strongest possible start in their league opener against Real Sociedad.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Pepe and Keylor Navas are all on the sidelines with injury for Real Madrid’s first league game of 2016-17,  while Luka Modric is suspended. Alvaro Morata is back from his loan spell at Juventus and will start alongside Gareth Bale, who will have the responsibility of leading the attack with the Spaniard.

Toni Kroos will be the midfield engine of the team and will be alongside Casemiro, Mateo Kovacic and Lucas Vazquez. Danny Carvajal, Marcelo, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos will form the back line of the Madrid team. In the absence of first choice keeper Keylor Navas, Kiko Casilla will be between the sticks.

James Rodriguez has been asked to leave and in all probability will not feature, while Isco is expected to start on the bench.

Real Madrid will be without the prolific Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.EPA/JJ GUILLEN

Real Madrid will be without the prolific Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.EPA/JJ GUILLEN

Can Real Madrid open their campaign with a win in a tough away fixture?

Judging by the way Madrid blew away Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup, Real Sociedad, in theory, should not pose much of a problem. However, the home team has caused upsets in the past and if they are at their very best, could get one over their depleted rivals. Their new manager Eusebio Sacristan helped them to a respectable ninth position in the league last season and would want to start this season with a bang.

For Zidane and Madrid, anything less than a win would hand the advantage over to their arch rivals Barcelona, even at this early stage.

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