Real Madrid travel to the Castellon province to face Villarreal CF and Zinedine Zidane provided some updates regarding Bale’s return to fitness and Varane’s injury
In his pre-match press conference, the Frenchman revealed that Pepe and Nacho Fernandez would be with the squad to make up for the absence of Raphael Varane, after the 23-year-old picked up and injury in Real Madrid’s 2-1 loss against Valencia last week.
Zidane insisted that Varane’s loss was a big one, and that he would be out for quite a lengthy period of time: “He’ll be out for a decent period of time but we have to consider that we’ve got other players available who are raring to go. We’re not happy about the injury but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Varane joins Danilo on the sidelines, but other than that, he revealed that he had a fit squad ready to face Fran Escriba’s men. “Pepe will be with us, and Nacho as well. With the exceptions of Varane, with his injury, and Danilo, with his problems, we’re all ready for Villarreal.”
Zidane will have been boosted by the return of Gareth Bale to full fitness. The 27-year-old marked his return from injury with a goal and is in line for his first start since his comeback.”He’s back at 100% He’s been training at full pace with us for a few days now and he’s 100% fit.”
This would likely mean the first start for the BBC trio in a long while, and James Rodriguez, who started in last week’s tie against Valencia, will have to settle for a place on the bench to make way for the former Tottenham Hotspur winger.
Keylor Navas had come under a lot of criticism for his performance in Real’s loss at the Mestalla last week, but Zidane insisted that the Costa Rican had his complete trust: “I really trust him. We can’t control comments coming from outside and he’s used to dealing with that.”
No deviation is expected from their regular 4-3-3 formation and given that they have had 5 days worth of rest, regular first team starters such as Marcelo, Ramos, Ronaldo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Benzema and Carvajal will all likely start at the Estadio de la Cerámica.