Santiago Solari has just three minor injuries to contend with as Real Madrid get set to take on Al Ain in the FIFA Club World Cup final on Saturday.
History awaits Real Madrid on Saturday, as they take to the field against Al Ain at Sheikh Zayed Sports City Stadium to lift the FIFA Club World Cup for a record fourth time. And, Santiago Solari has nearly all his men available to him ahead of his side’s final game of 2018.
The likes of Nacho (knee), Marco Asensio (thigh) and Mariano Diaz (hamstring) are struggling with minor injuries, and are unlikely to feature. But, Solari has more than enough cover in his squad to compensate for the absence of the trio, should they be unavailable.
In goal, Thibaut Courtois seems to have nailed down the Real Madrid no. 1 slot, with Keylor Navas now almost an afterthought. The Belgian should start between the posts against Al Ain as well.
The back four should comprise of Solari’s preferred first-choice, with Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo set to start once more, meaning the likes of Alvaro Odriozola, Javi Sanchez, Jesus Vallejo and Sergio Reguilon miss out yet again.
In midfield, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are certain starters whenever fully fit, with the duo set to be the chief creators for Real Madrid against Al Ain. The holding midfield role is a toss-up between Marcos Llorente and Casemiro. But, the Brazilian seemed to be lacking sharpness during his cameo in the semi-final, meaning Llorente should start again.
Up ahead in attack, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema are automatic selections as well, with the Welshman on the cusp of creating history himself, if he manages to score twice in the FIFA Club World Cup final.
The final spot in the side is a toss-up between Lucas Vazquez, Isco and Vinicius Junior. And, Solari was quizzed about Isco for the second successive pre-match press conference, with the Real Madrid manager suggesting that the Spaniard is in contention to start on Saturday.
“Isco was very good the other day and also in training, he stood out. The coaching staff, the physios and the doctors are happy when the players are available and when they play and they play well.”
Isco though, is likely to be relegated to the bench once again, especially with Solari valuing Lucas Vazquez’s work-rate, meaning the 27-year-old will start up ahead in attack.