Santiago Solari will take charge of his first game in-charge of Real Madrid, when they pay a visit to UD Melilla in the Copa Del Rey Round of 32 first leg.
The Julen Lopetegui era may have ended abruptly. But, Real Madrid have no time to lick their wounds, as they begin their Copa Del Rey campaign against UD Melilla at Estadio Municipal Alvarez Claro on Wednesday. Santiago Solari has taken temporary charge of the fallen giants, and will have a somewhat tricky task on his hands.
The Argentine is also missing a couple of fringe players who could have utilised the Copa Del Rey tie to make an impression. Jesus Vallejo and Mariano Diaz are unavailable, while Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal are the other players who are sidelined.
In defence, the likes of Manu Hernando and Javi Sanchez could fancy their chances of making it to the matchday squad. But, Solari might just stick with the experienced pairing of Sergio Ramos and Nacho in order to get a positive result in the first leg before blooding in the youngster back home at the Bernabeu.
Alongside the experienced pairing, Alvaro Odriozola and Sergio Reguilon will bring in the youthful element, with the latter enabling Marcelo to earn a well deserved rest. Behind the defensive unit, Kiko Casilla should start for the first time this season.
Up ahead in midfield, Solari might choose to exclude Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro, with the trio failing to deliver thus far this season. In their stead, the likes of Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and Federico Valverde will bring in the vigour and the desire to get Real Madrid out of the rut.
Meanwhile, Vinicius Junior was one of the main talking points in Solari’s first pre-match press conference in-charge of the Real Madrid first-team. The interim boss has confirmed that the Brazilian prodigy is a part of the matchday squad while also saving a word of praise for him.
“He’s a part of the squad like anyone else, he is young and talented. He has a lot to learn and a lot to give, now and in the future. There are no players in the Real Madrid squad who’re not up to the level necessary to play.”
Vinicius Jr. should be named in the starting lineup in Melilla on Wednesday as the left winger, with Marco Asensio manning the other flank. The focal point of the Real Madrid attack should be Karim Benzema, seeing as Mariano is unavailable due to a leg injury.