Santiago Solari has just three first-team players on the treatment table as Real Madrid prepare to take on Leganes in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Securing a place in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey will be on their minds, when Real Madrid pay Leganes a visit at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on Wednesday night. And, Santiago Solari will be buoyed by the prospect of his squad’s injury crisis ending soon.
The good news starts right at the back, with Thibaut Courtois returning to training. The Belgian though, is unlikely to feature against Leganes, with Keylor Navas continuing to protect the Real Madrid goal. In defence, Javi Sanchez is in contention to feature, having resumed first-team training.
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But, Jesus Vallejo is likely to miss out due to a muscle injury, meaning Sergio Ramos should partner Sanchez at the heart of the Real Madrid defence, which should be formed as a back four, instead of the back-three that started against Real Betis last weekend. The full-backs should be Alvaro Odriozola and Sergio Reguilon.
There are a number of midfielders who have returned to training as well, including Toni Kroos and Marcos Llorente. But, the duo ought to be preserved for the crunch tie against Sevilla this weekend, as should Luka Modric.
As a result, Casemiro should be Real Madrid’s holding midfielder, with Dani Ceballos likely to return to the starting lineup after winning all three points for his side at Betis. Federico Valverde should be the third midfielder, with Isco likely to remain frozen out once again, amid his uncertain future.
Up ahead in attack, the good news surrounds the return of Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz, with Karim Benzema the only forward sidelined with injury. Mariano though, might not start, meaning the versatility of Vinicius Junior, who was in for a lot of praise from Solari during his pre-match press conference, could come of use.
“He is very talented and he shows it when he needs to in games, whether home or away. Having come in just this season and doing what he has done, it is commendable, we all need to look out for him.”
Vinicius should lead the Real Madrid attack, with Lucas Vazquez returning to the starting lineup after missing last weekend’s La Liga tie due to suspension. The side should be completed by January signing Brahim Diaz, who is set to make his full debut against Leganes.