Santiago Solari is without just one first-team player as Real Madrid get set to face Girona at the Montilivi in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final.
Real Madrid will have the chance to qualify for the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey when they travel to Estadi Montilivi to take on Girona in the second leg of their quarter-final tie on Thursday. And, Santiago Solari will be buoyed by the improving fitness situation in his squad.
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Jesus Vallejo is the only player who is unavailable for Real Madrid ahead of the trip to Girona, something that Solari confirmed during his pre-match press conference.
“The decisions are tailored to each game, each match has different characteristics. The great news, with the exception of Vallejo who is back training on the field, is that all the players are now available, this creates competition within the squad which is healthy for everyone.”
Solari’s comments suggest that Keylor Navas is one of the players who have regained full fitness, and the Costa Rican custodian should man the Real Madrid goal on Thursday. As far as defence is concerned, Sergio Ramos should be rested, even though he has been included in the travelling squad, with Solari also confirming that his captain is fit and available.
“Sergio is fine, it was a scare because it was a very heavy blow from behind, but he’s trained very well.”
In Ramos’ stead, Nacho should return to the starting lineup, with Raphael Varane being his partner at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. Like Varane, Dani Carvajal is unavailable for the clash against Alaves this weekend, which explains why Alvaro Odriozola has been omitted from the squad travelling to Girona.
Carvajal should thus, start as the right-back, with Marcelo lining up on the opposite flank. In midfield, Solari should name a completely new-look trio, with Marcos Llorente playing the Anchor Man role. The Spaniard will be accompanied by Dani Ceballos and Federico Valverde.
Up ahead in attack, Mariano Diaz has been surprisingly excluded from the travelling squad, meaning Karim Benzema might lead the line for Real Madrid, so as to ensure qualification to the semi-finals, with Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio being the wide men.