Santiago Solari has three first-team players unavailable as Real Madrid get set to welcome Deportivo Alaves to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night.
Real Madrid will be hoping to make to record four successive wins in La Liga for the first time this season when they play hosts to Deportivo Alaves at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night. Santiago Solari though, has a couple of concerns in defence ahead of this weekend’s clash.
Raphael Varane will miss the match after being sent off against Espanyol last weekend; Dani Carvajal is suspended as well due to accumulation of yellow cards. Solari does have enough cover to compensate for the duo’s absence, but the Real Madrid boss can ill afford another forced absence.
Varane is likely to be replaced by Nacho, who will partner Sergio Ramos at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. In Carvajal’s stead, Alvaro Odriozola should start as the right-back, making his first appearance in the league in 2019, while Sergio Reguilon should complete the back four that will provide cover to Thibaut Courtois.
In midfield, Luka Modric and Casemiro are likely to return after being rested against Girona in the midweek cup game. This time around, however, it is likely to be Toni Kroos’ turn to be rested, keeping the Copa del Rey tie against Barcelona in mind. In place of the German playmaker, Dani Ceballos should get the nod.
Up ahead in attack, Solari has all of his options, except Mariano Diaz, available to him. But, the Real Madrid manager will keep one eye on the cup semi-final while picking his forwards as well. One player – Gareth Bale – though, looks set to face Alaves, judging by Solari’s comments during his pre-match press conference.
“All eyes are always on him and waiting to see what he does and he’s the focus of everyone’s attention. I see him as being really on it and he looks sharp. We want him to perform as he can do, like he did at the Club World Cup, where he played an instrumental role. He’s very important for us and he’s focused.”
Bale should start as part of the attacking trio, with Vinicius Junior being kept as an emergency option on the bench. Marco Asensio should return as well, replacing Lucas Vazquez, while the in-form Karim Benzema will lead the line for Real Madrid once again.