Real Madrid will be without Sergio Ramos and Marcelo for their Champions League opener against PSG, but star winger Eden Hazard is in line to start.
Real Madrid will be hoping to kickstart their UEFA Champions League campaign with a win, when they face off against French champions Paris Saint-Germain for their Group A fixture at Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
Coming on the back of a 3-2 win against Levante, Zinedine Zidane’s men will be aiming to carry the momentum from that game into Wednesday’s encounter. But, the Real Madrid manager has a number of injury and suspension worries heading into the clash.
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is suspended for the tie, as is fellow defender Nacho. Veteran left-back Marcelo is out with a neck injury as well, leaving the Merengues thin in the defensive department. Dani Carvajal is a certain starter on the right side, while summer signing Ferland Mendy should get the nod on the left flank in Marcelo’s absence.
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Raphael Varane ought to start as one of the two centre-halves on his return to homeland France. With his regular partner Sergio Ramos unavailable, summer arrival Eder Militao should make his full debut for Real Madrid on Wednesday. Thibaut Courtois is the obvious choice in goal, ahead of former PSG man Alphonse Areola.
Real Madrid are thinly stretched in the midfield department as well, as mainstay Luka Modric has been ruled out with an injury, along with Spanish playmaker Isco. Promising midfielder Federico Valverde is also absent due to an injury he picked up on international duty.
This has left Zidane with just three options in the middle of the park, all of whom are going to start on Wednesday. Casemiro will slot in as the holding midfielder, with Toni Kroos providing support, while James Rodriguez will take up the third slot and look to impact play in the final third of the pitch.
Marco Asensio and Brahim Diaz continue to remain absent for Los Blancos. But, they have been boosted by the return of Gareth Bale, who missed the Levante game due to a suspension. The Welsh international is expected to walk right back into the starting XI on the right flank.
Eden Hazard, who made his first competitive appearance for Real Madrid from the bench against Levante, is in line to make his full debut on Wednesday. Speaking of the Belgian in his pre-match presser, manager Zidane said, “He’s ready and prepared because he’s completed more sessions with the team. He’s a difference-maker and can make the difference in a lot of situations.”
“He’s shown that and he’s going to be a very good and important player for us. He’s going to have a wonderful future here. He’s really motivated to achieve something special. He’s got the character and personality befitting a club like Real Madrid. We’ve got to let him work and we’ll then see what he can do.”
Hazard should slot in on the left side of the attacking trident, with in-form striker Karim Benzema, who scored a brace against Levante last time out, leading the line for Real Madrid.
Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Militao, Mendy; Rodriguez, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Hazard