It’s Matchday 15 and La Liga table toppers Real Madrid host Deportivo La Coruna at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.
Real Madrid come into this match on the back of the deflating 2-2 draw against Borussia Dortmund in their final Champions League group stage encounter. The result saw them finish runners up behind their German nemesis. However, setting a club record will be on the minds of Zinedine Zidane’s men on Saturday, as they attempt to extend their unbeaten run to 35 games.
With title rivals Barcelona, whom Los Blancos held to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou last weekend, facing bottom placed Osasuna earlier in the day, a win is vital for Zidane’s side to maintain their lead at the top of the league table. Here’s the team news for Real Madrid ahead of Saturday’s match.
Real Madrid manager has just Gareth Bale as the injury absentee from his squad, as the star forward continues to recover from the ankle injury he sustained in the 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon last month. Bale has, however, reassured the Real faithful by providing a positive update on his injury, posting a video on Dugout to reaffirm that his recovery is going well.
— Real Madrid C. F. (@realmadrid) December 9, 2016
The likes of Casemiro (fibula), Toni Kroos (foot) and Alvaro Morata (Achilles) though, have all recovered from their respective injuries and have made the 19-man squad for Saturday’s game. Casemiro was fit to start the stalemate against Dortmund on Wednesday, while Kroos made an appearance from the bench.
Speaking in the press conference on Friday, Zidane confirmed that Morata will be fit to start against Depor, saying: “Tomorrow he’s going to play. Every day he is better and he really wanted to play. He’s training very well.”
Meanwhile, the Real Madrid boss has rested his star forward duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, as he aims to preserve them heading into the new year. Speaking on Benzema’s absence from his squad, Zidane said: “He was at the team’s disposal but we’re going to give him some rest. We have a lot of games and tomorrow we will rest him and other players.”
In the absence of the famed BBC trio, Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez and Lucas Vazquez are all likely to start up front and provide energy to the Madrid attack. Behind the trio, Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Isco are expected to line up in the midfield for Zidane’s side.
At the back, Zidane has all of his defenders at his disposal, meaning Pepe could make a first start since the end of October alongside Sergio Ramos at the heart of the Real Madrid defence, with the duo likely to be flanked by Dani Carvajal and Marcelo.
Here’s the 19-man Real Madrid squad for Saturday’s match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Kiko Casilla and Ruben Yáñez.
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho, Marcelo and Danilo.
Midfielders: Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Casemiro, Mateo Kovacic, Marco Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Alvaro Morata, Lucas Vázquez and Mariano.