Julen Lopetegui will have just one first-team player unavailable when Real Madrid travel to Estadi Montilivi to face off against Girona on Sunday.
Real Madrid will be looking to start building a run of positive results starting on Sunday, when they meet Girona at Estadi Montilivi for their second game of the 2018-19 La Liga season. And, Julen Lopetegui will be buoyed by the fact that he’s on the verge of boasting a clean bill of health.
Alvaro Odriozola is off the treatment table after recovering from a groin injury, although the Spaniard is unlikely to be fully fit for the visit to Girona. Jesus Vallejo though, is still unavailable, having only resumed light training this week, although Lopetegui has enough cover in his squad to cover for his absence.
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The back-four should see just one change on Sunday, with Nacho making way for Raphael Varane, who will likely join Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo. The big conundrum though, lies in Real Madrid’s goalkeeping department, which Lopetegui addressed during his pre-match press conference.
“I’m not going to reveal anything, you’ll see the line-up tomorrow. We haven’t decided exactly what we’re going to do. We’ve got some very good goalkeepers here, some of whom have joined us more recently, but they’re all getting up to speed and it’s down to us to decide.”
“The role of goalkeeper is a bit of a different and special one. I’m relaxed because I know that regardless of the decision we take, it’ll be for the good of the team.”
On Sunday, Keylor Navas should continue between the sticks, even though several reports have suggested that Thibaut Courtois is set to make his Real Madrid debut.
Another bone of contention for Lopetegui, meanwhile, will be in midfield. The decision concerns Luka Modric and whether the Croat should be replacing the non-performing Isco. Modric might just get his first start of the season in the no. 10 role, with the Spaniard indeed making way.
Another player who is likely to return to the starting lineup is Casemiro, with the Brazilian shoring up midfield and freeing up some of the responsibility off Toni Kroos’s shoulders. As a result, Dani Ceballos will be joining Isco on the bench despite a solid start to the campaign last week.
The rest of the side though, should remain unchanged. Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale will be huge factors on the flanks, while Karim Benzema will be hoping to break his duck against Girona.