Julen Lopetegui will be without the services of just one first-team player when AS Roma pay them a visit at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
Real Madrid will begin the defence of their Champions League title when AS Roma Roma pay a visit to the Bernabeu on Wednesday for the opening Group G game. And, Julen Lopetegui has nearly all his men available, with just Jesus Vallejo on the sidelines due to ongoing recovery from a thigh injury.
But, that doesn’t mean the Real Madrid boss does not have his fair share of headaches, with the choice of the starting goalkeeper being just one of the tough calls he has to take on the night. Lopetegui alluded to the situation during his pre-match press conference, without divulging any detail as to which shot stopper will get the nod on Wednesday.
“I’m not going to say anything about them. We’ve got great options in the goal and I’m sure that we’ll get the decisions right. We’ll see how things go bit by bit. I feel we’ve got great options in the goal and whoever plays, we’ll be well represented. Keylor is very good. Fighting and competing because he’s a competitor and is doing what we expected of him, like his teammates.”
Thibaut Courtois has been decent in both the starts he’s received so far this season, and the World Cup Golden Glove winner is likely to keep his place ahead of Keylor Navas once again. There are no such problems in the selection of the Real Madrid back-four though, with Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo pretty much picking themselves up.
In front of the quartet, however, the decision on the midfield trio also presents Lopetegui with a few problems. While Toni Kroos is nailed on at the moment, the remaining two spots will likely be filled by Casemiro, Luka Modric and Isco.
Modric should start to provide the required creative impetus in the middle of the park. But, Isco could end up remaining on the bench despite being the super sub for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao this past weekend, with Casemiro starting in his stead to shore up the midfield.
Upfront, the in-form trio of Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema are automatic selections as well, and the attacking trident will be aiming to produce another solid performance to lead Real Madrid to a win in their Champions League opener.