Defending league champions Real Madrid are set to miss out on the services of number of big names, as they welcome RCD Espanyol to the Santiago Bernabeu tonight.

Los Blancos are still looking for their first Liga victory at home this season and tonight, they face 12th placed RCD Espanyol with an injury stricken squad. As per their official website Marcelo, Benzema, Kovacic and Hernandez all trained separately, which means they likely won’t feature.

Gareth Bale is also expected to be benched, or may miss this tie all together if Zidane chooses to not risk him. In his official press conference, the Frenchman said, “We’ll have to see whether he’s involved tomorrow. It’s muscle fatigue, but we don’t like to take any risks.”

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema (R) celebrates with teammates Welsh forward Gareth Bale (L) and defender Daniel Carvajal (C) after scoring their team's first goal during the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs Real Madrid CF at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on March 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

Karim Benzema (R), Gareth Bale (L) and Daniel Carvajal (C) celebrate team’s first goal during the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs Real Madrid CF at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on March 18, 2017. (Picture Courtesy – Getty Images)

The club recently released a statement saying that Dani Carvajal has been diagnosed with a heart condition, more specifically a viral pericardium infection. The seriousness of this infection is unknown and he will most likely not feature against Espanyol and the near future.

Marcelo will likely be replaced by Nacho Fernandez, while Gareth Bale has Lucas Vazquez and Marcos Asensio who have proven to be more than capable of replacing him. Asensio will likely start, having only just signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club till 2023.

Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric all started in their victory against Borussia Dortmund midweek and they will all likely start this tie as well, to maintain the experience and quality in an already depleted squad. However, Isco might start ahead of Kroos or Modric as well.

However, It remains to be seen how Real cope with the absence of Carvajal. Their only other replacement is 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi, who is yet to make his senior debut for his side. However, Zidane has trusted talented youth before and might be willing to do the same with the young Moroccan.

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