Toni Kroos is set to return while Gareth Bale will likely replace Rodrygo Goes when Real Madrid take on Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday.
Real Madrid will be hoping to return to the summit of La Liga, when they lock horns with a resurgent Valencia side at the Mestalla on Sunday night. Heading into the fixture, Zinedine Zidane has a fresh roster issue to contend with.
Ferland Mendy is suspended for the trip to Valencia after being sent off against Espanyol last week. Mendy’s one-match ban coupled with Marcelo’s absence through injury means Zidane does not have a recognised left-back at his disposal.
As a result, the Real Madrid boss will have to deploy a makeshift left-back against Valencia, with Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Eder Militao and Nacho among the options he will consider. Nacho is likely to get the nod over the others, with Carvajal starting on the right side of the Real Madrid defence.
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Sergio Ramos is set to return to the starting lineup after being rested against Club Brugge. Ramos will likely have Raphael Varane as his central defensive partner, with Thibaut Courtois lining up between the sticks, replacing Alphonse Areola.
The burning question ahead of the game has surrounded the involvement of Casemiro, who has been featuring week in week out for Real Madrid. During his pre-match press conference, Zidane was posed the question of a possible rest for the Brazilian and he was rather coy in his reply.
“We know just how important each of the players are and I have to name my team for each game. We’ve got to think purely about this game because I’d be making a mistake if I started to think about Wednesday’s match. The next game is always your most important one.”
Casemiro could be given a bit of a breather, with Toni Kroos coming into the starting lineup in his stead. Kroos should start as the deepest of the three midfielders and will likely be accompanied by Federico Valverde and Isco, with Luka Modric also dropping down to the bench.
Upfront, Karim Benzema ought to return as the central striker. As for Benzema’s support cast, Gareth Bale, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. are the options for Real Madrid. The trio were the subject of discussion during Zidane’s presser as well.
“Age doesn’t matter in football. There are players aged 16 or 17 and then, for example, in France there’s a player who’s 42 and is still playing. Age doesn’t matter in football. Everyone likes football. I don’t think that [Gareth] Bale’s role is a less important one.”
Bale is likely to be involved against Valencia, coming into the side in place of Rodrygo, with Vinicius filling up the final spot in the side. Rodrygo and Luka Jovic will be among the attacking options on the bench for Real Madrid.
Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Nacho; Valverde, Kroos, Isco; Bale, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.