Defending champions Real Madrid host Malaga CF tonight in matchweek 13 of the La Liga, as they look to try and reduce to gap between themselves and Barcelona at the top of the table.
Real Madrid were able to welcome back some players into their squad, but have lost some players thanks to injuries and suspension. As per the official squad list released by the club, goalkeeper Keylor Navas has returned to the squad after injury and may start tonight for the first time since October.
In defence, Nacho Fernandez and Sergio Ramos will not feature tonight. Speaking about the absence of his captain, Zidane wasn’t too worried. In his pre match press conference he said,”I’m not afraid of anything. If he can’t play, someone else will play and I’m sure they’ll do well.”
Amongst their midfielders, Mateo Kovacic has returned to the squad after spending over 2 months on the sidelines. Marco Asensio on the other hand, is reported to have an ‘external obturator’ injury as per a statement relased by the club and won’t feature tonight.
Zidane however, played down the seriousness of his injury and isnsited they would take a precautionary measure with the Spaniard.
“It’s nothing serious but he has something. It’s better to lose him for three or four days than to continue and make it worse.”
Amongst the forwards, only Gareth Bale remains sidelined and will not feature tonight depsite training with the team. Speaking about Bale, Zidane said, “I don’t know when he’ll play. Today he’s trained with us, he’s in fine shape physically and not in pain. We’ll see when he’s going to play.”
He also went on to say,”This time it’ll take less to get him[Bale] right. The second injury wasn’t a long one. We have to get Gareth back to 100%. I don’t think he needs a lot of time to re-find his form because he has already trained with us and he looks good to me.”
Needless to say, the champions have a number of injuries deal with for this tie. However, Zidane insisted that he wasn’t looking for excuses saying that casualties were a part of the game. He went on to say that the 10-point deficit between them and Barcelona were an accumulation of other factors and that he too was responsible and that they had to look forward from here on out.