Sergio Ramos is set for his 600th Real Madrid appearance when Santiago Solari’s men take on Ajax in the Round of 16 first leg tie on Wednesday.
Real Madrid will be aiming to get one step closer to defending their UEFA Champions League crown when they face off against Ajax in the Round of 16 first leg in Amsterdam on Wednesday. Santiago Solari though, is missing a few first-team players ahead of the knockout tie.
All but one of the sidelined players, however, are not regulars under the Real Madrid boss, meaning he is unlikely to fret much due to their unavailability. Luca Zidane is one of the players who are sidelined, but the goalkeeper is behind Thibaut Courtois and Keylor Navas anyway.
Courtois should get the nod to man the Real Madrid goal against Ajax, with the four-man defence in front of him likely to remain unchanged. Dani Carvajal and Sergio Reguilon are expected to be the full-backs, with Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane forming the central defensive partnership.
The Round of 16 first leg against Ajax will be a momentous occasion for Ramos, in particular, who will be making his 600th Real Madrid appearance. And, Solari hailed the club captain during his pre-match press conference.
“Sergio Ramos is a marvellous character and is massively competitive, it’s no coincidence that he’s made so many appearances. This historic Real Madrid side bears the mark of his character and let’s hope that we’re able to continue to enjoy watching him for many more games to come.”
In midfield, Marcos Llorente is a major absentee, owing to his groin injury. But with Casemiro extending his good run against Atletico Madrid, Solari does not have a lot to worry about. Alongside the Brazilian in the middle of the park, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos should continue as well.
Up ahead in attack, the Real Madrid boss has all of his personnel available to him, but only one of the three positions are up for grabs, with Vinicius Jr. and Karim Benzema being certain starters. The final spot in the side is essentially a toss-up between Lucas Vazquez and Gareth Bale.
Bale produced a promising cameo, that included a goal, against Atletico Madrid, and should get the nod ahead of Vazquez for the third attacking slot, in what will be a crucial game for the Welshman as far as the rest of the season is concerned.