Luka Modric and Toni Kroos should return while Karim Benzema will miss out due to injury when Real Madrid take on Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Real Madrid will be hoping to return to winning ways in their second derby of the week, when they pay a visit to Rayo Vallecano at Camp de Futbol de Vallecas on Sunday night. Zinedine Zidane though, has been dealt a cruel blow ahead of this weekend’s fixture.
Real Madrid top scorer Karim Benzema has been omitted from the travelling squad by Zinedine Zidane, with the Frenchman out with a leg injury. With Benzema scoring each of his side’s last eight goals, his absence is sure to be felt dearly by Los Blancos.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) April 27, 2019
There are no such concerns surrounding the goalkeeping department, with both Thibaut Courtois and Keylor Navas fit and available. On Sunday, Courtois is likely to get a chance to impress, as Zidane continues to assess his squad ahead of what will be a busy summer. In defence, there could be a couple of shuffles.
Sergio Reguilon has not been named in Real Madrid’s squad, meaning there is no looking past Marcelo for the left-back slot. Raphael Varane should continue at the heart of the defence, but Jesus Vallejo will hope for a recall against Rayo Vallecano, with Zidane continuing to rotate him and Nacho in the absence of Sergio Ramos.
On the right side of the Real Madrid defence, Dani Carvajal is a certain starter, with Alvaro Odriozola out with a long-term injury. In midfield, the manager is likely to name his strongest trio, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos returning to the starting lineup. Casemiro should keep his place as the deepest of the three midfielders, with Isco and Federico Valverde dropping out.
Up ahead in attack, Benzema is definitely out, while Vinicius Junior is not fit enough to make himself available for selection. And, the Real Madrid boss provided an update on the duo during his pre-match press conference.
“They’re all ready, apart from Vinicius – we want to take things slowly with him. Karim won’t be involved and we’ll put out a side to try and hurt them and win the game. I’m not going to say how we’re going to set up. He [Vinicius] still needs to do some more work after being out through injury for two months and he needs another week of training under his belt.”
“He won’t be involved against Rayo. He’s gradually doing better in training and upping the tempo, but he’s still not there because after two months… He wants to train and improve and that’s positive. He’ll have next week to train and we’ll have to see what happens ahead of the Villarreal game.”
To replace Benzema, Zidane has one of two options – Gareth Bale and Mariano Diaz. Bale has been underwhelming in recent outings, meaning Mariano could get a rare start upfront. Bale could be left out altogether from the starting lineup, with Marco Asensio replacing him on the left flank, while Brahim Diaz should keep his place on the right.