Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is set to return from injury, while Gareth Bale has been ruled out for their away game against Real Valladolid on Sunday.
Real Madrid will be looking to take the top spot in the La Liga standings when they lock horns with Sergio Gonzalez’s Real Valladolid outfit at Estadio Jose Zorrilla on Sunday night. And manager Zinedine Zidane is set to welcome back his captain Sergio Ramos back into the starting XI.
Ramos had missed Los Blancos’ last two games with an ankle injury, but is fit again and has been included in the 19-man matchday squad by Zidane. He ought to start at the heart of the Real Madrid defence against Valladolid, partnering Raphael Varane. However, the Merengues will be without the services of right-back Dani Carvajal, who is suspended for the tie.
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With Alvaro Odriozola having left the club, Zidane will have to use either of Eder Militao or Nacho as the right-back on Sunday, with the former likely to get the nod. Ferland Mendy is in line to replace Marcelo at left-back after not featuring in Madrid’s cup tie against Unionistas earlier this week. Thibaut Courtois will return in goal, replacing Alphonse Areola.
Casemiro has been in excellent form of late and drew praise from his manager on the eve of the game. Speaking of the Brazilian in his pre-match presser, Zidane said, “He scored two goals the other day, but I’m not surprised that he gets in the box because he’s a player who’s capable of getting into those positions, as he did against Sevilla. He’s an important player and is proving that.”
Casemiro played the full game in midweek and is expected to start against Valladolid once again. There will be definite change in his partners in the middle though, as Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, who did not play any part in the Copa del Rey clash set to return to the side, at the expense of Fede Valverde and James Rodriguez.
Real Madrid have some issues in the final third of the pitch with Eden Hazard still on his way to recovery while Marco Asensio also remains sidelined. And, Gareth Bale, who was on the scoresheet in the cup tie, is also out with an ankle issue.
Lamenting on the Welshman’s latest injury setback, Zidane said, “We want him to be available, which is the most important thing for him and us. He hurt his ankle the other day and he’s the main one who’s not happy. It’s nothing major and I hope to see him back with us after the Valladolid game.”
With Bale ruled out, Brazilian sensation Rodrygo Goes is expected to walk into the starting XI on Sunday while Spanish playmaker Isco is also in line to return to the side in attack, at the expense of Vinicius Junior. There is no looking past Frenchman Karim Benzema to lead the Real Madrid attack.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Militao, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco, Benzema, Rodrygo