Real Madrid will continue to be without the services of big summer buy Eden Hazard, when they take on Villarreal in matchweek 3 of the 2019-20 La Liga.

Real Madrid will be aiming to return to winning ways when they lock horns against Javier Calleja’s Villarreal side, who are yet to win a game this season, at El Madrigal on Sunday night.

Having been held to a 1-1 draw by Real Valladolid at home last weekend, Zinedine Zidane’s side will be itching to bounce back with a strong performance. But, injuries haven’t been kind to the Merengues as there are a number of frontline players currently sidelined with Isco and James Rodriguez emerging as the latest casualties to join the likes of Marco Asensio, Eden Hazard and Brahim Diaz.

Speaking of the injury situation of his squad in his pre-match presser, Zidane said, “I can’t possibly be happy to see players get injured. Unfortunately, these things happen from time to time. These things happen at all clubs. The physios and doctors do their all to get the players back and fit quickly and I hope to see them back soon”.

Thibaut Courtois is a guaranteed starter between the sticks for Real Madrid, especially with Keylor Navas looking to leave the club for PSG, although the Costa Rican is expected to travel with the squad for Sunday’s game.

The defence also is unlikely to see any changes for the trip to El Madrigal. Despite struggling last weekend, Dani Carvajal should keep his spot at right-back ahead of Alvaro Odriozola and new signing Eder Militao. Marcelo should continue to keep Ferland Mendy out of the starting XI on the opposite flank, with captain Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane completing the backline.

As mentioned above, Isco and James Rodriguez are sidelined for Real Madrid having picked up injuries in the draw against Valladolid last weekend. However, Los Blancos have been boosted the return of Luka Modric after he served his one-match suspension. The Croat should walk right back into the starting XI, with Casemiro and Toni Kroos completing the midfield trifecta for Zidane’s side.

Real Madrid are severely depleted in the attacking department as Marco Asensio is ruled out with a long-term injury, while fellow Spaniard Brahim Diaz is also sidelined. Rodrygo has started training, but is still some way away from being completely match-fit and the same goes for headline summer signing Eden Hazard.

The Belgian is back training with the first-team but will not be ready for the Villarreal game, Zidane confirmed. “He’s not able to play at the moment. We as a club know that, as does he as the player,” the manager said.

Lucas Vazquez is an option for the manager, but he is likely to stick with the attacking trident of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior for the trip to Villarreal on Sunday.

Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Vinicius.

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