Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo have returned to the match day squad as Real Madrid host Valencia on Saturday.
It’s Match Day 35 in La Liga, and Real Madrid host Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday eager to create a winning momentum after bouncing back from the disappointing loss in the El Clasico with an emphatic 6-2 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday.
A win can take Zinedine Zidane’s men three points clear of bitter rivals Barcelona temporarily, having played the same number of games. Ahead of Saturday’s visit of Valencia, here’s the all-important team news for Real Madrid.
The report on that front is a mixed bag of fortunes as even though Zidane does not have a lot of injury concerns on his hands but he will be without the services of two key players in his first-team setup due to fitness issues.
Pepe has been on the treatment table since early April, and while there’s no specific date earmarked for his return, Zidane has said that he is expecting the Portuguese centre-back to return to action before the end of the season.
— Real Madrid C. F. (@realmadrid) April 28, 2017
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Zidane remarked: “He is slightly better. Hs ribs hurt a lot, but he is doing better. I hope that before the end of the season he will be back playing. That is the idea.”
Pepe has also been joined on the sidelines by Gareth Bale, who sustained a calf injury in the loss to Barcelona last weekend. The Welsh forward is expected to be unavailable for another fortnight before he can be back from yet another injury setback.
The positive news, though, is that Zidane is all set to welcome Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos to his match day squad after he served a one-match ban against Deportivo in the midweek game, following his sending off in the Clasico last Sunday.
Meanwhile, Zidane has chosen to rest Raphael Varane ahead of the semifinal meeting against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday. In the Frenchman’s absence, Nacho is all set to retain his place at the heart of the Real Madrid defence.
Toni Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo are also back in the squad for Saturday’s game after the duo was handed the night off against Deportivo. And Zidane cut a happy figure as he exclaimed that the majority of his squad are fit and firing.
The Real Madrid boss said: “We are doing well both physically and mentally. We know that what we have all done up until now has been phenomenal. This is the best moment of the season emotionally and we’re doing well. The players are doing well, now more than ever.”