Santiago Solari has a number of first-team regulars unavailable as Real Madrid prepare to take on Real Betis at Estadio Benito Villamarin on Sunday
Real Madrid will be hoping to return to winning ways in La Liga, when they travel to Estadio Benito Villamarin to take on Real Betis on Sunday night. Santiago Solari though, has a major selection headache to deal with ahead of the trip to Seville, and not of the right kind.
The Real Madrid boss has several first-team players missing out on the away game at Real Betis, largely due to short-term injuries. Solari was even quizzed on the brewing injury crisis during his pre-match press conference, with the manager choosing to chalk it down to being “part and parcel” of the game.
“I wouldn’t call it unfortunate, it’s all part and parcel of the job. It’s true that we’ve got a long injury list, but we’ll take a critical approach and are keen to improve things and reduce the time the players are out for, because we need them and they’re all important to us.”
The problems start right at the back, with Thibaut Courtois sidelined with a hip complaint. With the Belgian shot stopper believed to be sidelined for the rest of the month, Keylor Navas should assume the goalkeeping duties for Real Madrid for the foreseeable future.
In defence, there are no major concerns whatsoever, with Javi Sanchez the only player whose availability is deemed as touch and go. Solari should thus, name his first-choice back four of Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo.
There are, however, a couple of pressing issues in midfield. Two of the most important midfielders at the disposal of the Real Madrid manager, Toni Kroos and Marcos Llorente, are unavailable due to their respective groin injuries.
While Casemiro has inadequately replaced Llorente upon the turn of the year, Solari has no option but to persist with him. In Kroos’ stead, Dani Ceballos is the likely replacement, with Federico Valverde being an option on the bench. Luka Modric will complete the midfield trio.
Up ahead in attack, Solari has as many as three certain absentees in Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez, who is suspended after being sent off against Real Sociedad last weekend. To add to the worries, Vinicius Jr. is a major doubt as well due to illness. The Real Madrid boss provided an update on the Brazilian, iterating that he will take a late decision on his involvement.
“We don’t know whether he’ll be involved tomorrow, we need to wait a bit before announcing the squad list, but we’ll know either way during the course of the day.”
One player who is likely to benefit from the injury crisis is Isco, who should start on the right flank. If fit, Vinicius Jr. should man the left flank, with Mariano Diaz and January signing Brahim Diaz the likely alternatives. Karim Benzema will complete the side, leading the line for Real Madrid against Real Betis.