La Liga table-toppers Real Madrid return to league action on Sunday, eager to continue their unbeaten start to the season as they host Leganes at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday. Here’s the team news for Los Blancos ahead of this weekend’s clash
European champions Real Madrid had captain Sergio Ramos (knee) and his central defensive partner Pepe (hamstring) out through injuries against Polish champions Legia Warsaw in their UEFA Champions League tie on Wednesday. Ramos sustained a knee ligament injury last month in a FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Albania last month. Pepe’s injury, on the other hand, is more recent after suffering a grade two muscle injury in the 4-1 win over Alaves last week.
The duo are no closer to returning yet with Pepe, in particular, expected to be on the sidelines for several weeks. In their absence, Nacho and Raphael Varane are expected to continue in the heart of defence for Los Merengues. Fabio Coentrao deputised for regular left-back Marcelo in the midweek European clash, but the Brazil international is likely to be back in Zinedine Zidane’s lineup this weekend.
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In midfield, defensive midfielder Casemiro continues to be unavailable. The Brazilian’s absence has been a huge blow for Madrid, with the lack of a genuine backup holding midfielder leaving the side’s defence under pressure. He is set to be out till the end of the year with a fracture in his lower leg.
However, Zidane’s side have been given a huge boost by the news of Luka Modric coming back to first-team training this week. The Croatian midfielder had been out with a knee injury since the start of October. Modric has been included in the matchday squad but is unlikely to start against the newly-promoted side.
Meanwhile, Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez also provided good news to the Madrid boss by declaring himself to be available for the match on Sunday. He missed to trip to Poland with a groin trouble but in an interview with RCN, Rodriguez said that his injury was nothing but a temporary setback. However, he has missed out on a place in the weekend’s matchday squad.
In attack, Karim Benzema has been excluded from the squad but Zidane still has the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lucas Vazquez, Alvaro Morata and Marco Asensio at his disposal to make for a formidable front line.