Real Madrid will be without the services of captain Sergio Ramos and seasoned defender Marcelo, when they take on Eibar on Saturday afternoon.
Real Madrid will be aiming to return to winning ways, when they go head to head against Jose Luis Mendilibar’s Eibar at the Santiago Bernabeu, in matchweek 31 of the 2018-19 La Liga. Coming on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Valencia, Zinedine Zidane’s men will want to produce a strong reaction in what will be the Frenchman’s 100th La Liga game as the Real Madrid manager.
Real Madrid will continue to be without the services of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has missed the last two matches with an injury. Costa Rican international Keylor Navas should continue between the sticks for the home side against Los Armeros.
Full-back Dani Carvajal is back in training, but hasn’t been named in the 19-man squad announced by Zidane on the eve of the game. Sergio Ramos is a surprise exclusion from the matchday squad, with the manager opting to rest his star defender. Fellow veteran Marcelo also misses out as he is suspended due to accumulation of cards.
Alvaro Odriozola should start at right-back once again, while Sergio Reguilon is set to start at left-back in Marcelo’s absence. Raphael Varane will hold on to his spot at the heart of the defence, and will be partnered by utility man Nacho, who is back after missing the Valencia game due to suspension.
Real Madrid’s midfield was found wanting badly against Valencia in the midweek, but Zidane is unlikely to tinker too much in the centre of the park. Casemiro should continue at the base of the midfield, with Marcos Llorente missing out with an injury.
Luka Modric, who has had his Ballon d’Or credentials questioned of late, should hold on to his spot in the middle of the park. Speaking of the Croat, Zidane said in his pre-match press conference, that he deserves the Ballon d’Or that he was awarded last year.
“He deserves his Ballon d’Or, he’s earned it through commitment, great play, tremendous quality and everything we know Luka to possess. He deserves his Ballon d’Or and if people disagree, then I feel sorry for them.”
Toni Kroos, though, is likely to make way for Dani Ceballos, who had scored on his previous start last weekend, in the starting lineup. Isco wasn’t part of the starting XI against Valencia in the midweek. But, the Spanish playmaker, who has scored twice in the last three games, should start as the lone attacking midfielder, in behind the strikers.
Brazilian starlet Vinicius Junior continues to be absent for Real Madrid, but Zidane claimed in his presser that the teenager is back training on the pitch. “I can’t tell you how long he’ll be out. He’s recovering well, he’s back out on the pitch and seems in good spirits,” the Frenchman said.
Marco Asensio is likely to drop out of the team after failing to make the most of his opportunity against Valencia. The Spaniard will make way for Gareth Bale, who will partner leading goalscorer Karim Benzema in Real Madrid’s strike-force.