Real Madrid will go into Sunday’s game against a struggling Real Sociedad outfit without the services of attackers Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio.
Real Madrid will be looking to bounce back from their 2-2 draw against Villarreal, when they face off against Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend.
Santiago Solari’s men find themselves fifth on the La Liga table after 17 matches, seven points shy of leaders Barcelona. Having failed to win their first game of the New Year, Los Blancos will be gunning to bag all three points against La Real on Sunday.
Keylor Navas, who has been linked with a move away from Madrid in January, is expected to remain on the bench on Sunday, with Thibaut Courtois continuing under the woodwork against Real Sociedad. Raphael Varane, who scored in the last game against Villarreal, will pair up with captain Sergio Ramos at the heart of the defence.
Dani Carvajal will continue as the right-back, while Marcelo will feature once again at left-back, despite concerns over his form of late. Speaking of the Brazilian in his pre-match press conference, Solari put his faith in the experienced defender, admitting that it has been a tough season for him owing to his injuries.
“He had a very tough semester with three different muscle injuries. He’s been improving his conditioning little by little and it’s important that he doesn’t pick up an injury again because he’s a crucial player for our team, we have to take care of him.”
Marcos Llorente remains sidelined with an injury, meaning Casemiro is set to start in the holding midfield role once again on Sunday. He will continue to be partnered by Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the middle of the park, with Dani Ceballos starting on the bench once more.
Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz are once again ruled out for Real Madrid, having missed the midweek game with their respective injuries. They have been joined on the treatment table by star man Gareth Bale, after he was taken off with a calf problem against Villarreal.
“It looks like it is not a severe injury and we’re hoping to have him with us soon,” the Real Madrid manager said, speaking of the Welshman.
With Bale sidelined, Isco should get the nod on the left flank against Real Sociedad. The Spanish international has found it difficult to carve out a place in the starting XI under Solari, but the manager backed him to come good this weekend.
“Isco has so much quality that he can play everywhere on the field. Sometimes you don’t have to rely on your speed but on your quality, creativity and skills. Every player has his own skill set,” Solari said of the Spaniard.
Karim Benzema, who was on the scoresheet against Villarreal, and Lucas Vazquez will complete the attack for Los Blancos at the weekend.