Thibaut Courtois is likely to be the only change when Real Madrid welcome Barcelona in the fourth El Clasico of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Real Madrid will be desperate to record their first success in an El Clasico this season, when they welcome arch rivals Barcelona to the Santiago Bernabeu for the second time in three days on Saturday. And, Santiago Solari now has just one player unavailable due to injury troubles.
In addition to the injury absentee, the Real Madrid boss will also be without Nacho on Saturday after the Spaniard was sent off against Levante last weekend. Nacho though, was unlikely to start, with both Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane available.
The first-choice central defensive partnership should line up against Barcelona once again, although they will aim to fare better than they did in the second half of the cup tie on Wednesday. The full-backs from the midweek Copa del Rey clash are likely to retain their places as well, with Dani Carvajal and Sergio Reguilon completing the backline.
Behind the Real Madrid defence, Thibaut Courtois should come in to replace Keylor Navas after the Costa Rican custodian assumed his customary place between the sticks for a cup game. Coming back to the good news, Isco is available once again after recovering from his back injury, and Solari was quizzed about the Spaniard during his pre-match press conference.
“The squad hasn’t been decided yet. It’s positive that almost everyone is available. Isco was injured and has been back with the group for five days. He’s doing well and he’s important. We want to also get Marcos Llorente and the rest back. That speaks well of other parts of the club that are working so that they are all available. We’re satisfied.”
Indeed, as Solari mentioned, Llorente remains unavailable due to his groin injury. In the Spaniard’s absence, Casemiro ought to continue as the holding midfielder despite a sub-par second half against Barcelona on Wednesday.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, meanwhile, should remain the creative supremos for Real Madrid, meaning Isco will only make the bench at best on Saturday. Up ahead in attack, Solari has all his personnel available to him, with Mariano Diaz also being named in the matchday squad.
Mariano though, is only likely to be a substitute, with Karim Benzema leading the line for Real Madrid again. The Frenchman and Vinicius Junior, who should man the left flank, will hope to be more clinical after giving Barcelona many-a-reprieve two days ago. Lucas Vazquez should occupy the final spot in the side, with Gareth Bale failing to impress during his cameo on Wednesday.