Eden Hazard is fit again and in contention to feature while Vinicius Junior is likely to replace Gareth Bale when Real Madrid face Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Real Madrid will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the La Liga table when they lock horns with relegation battlers Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend. And Zinedine Zidane has been handed a major injury boost ahead of the game, with Eden Hazard set to return after almost three months out with an injury.
Speaking of the Belgian in his pre-match presser, Zidane said, “I’m really happy that he’s back because he’s a unique player. We didn’t want to rush things with him to ensure that he feels really good. He’s a really great player and it’s time for him to be back and involved. He’s feeling good physically, but he’s not played in three months. He’ll be with us tomorrow and is ready to play.”
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Real Madrid, though, will be without Marco Asensio for the game, while Mariano Diaz and James Rodriguez are also out with injuries. Zidane has also opted to leave out Brazilian sensation Rodrygo Goes from the 19-man squad for a second time in a row.
There are unlikely to be a lot of changes made to the side that started against Osasuna last time out, despite the looming Champions League clash against Manchester City. Thibaut Courtois is a guaranteed starter in goal after enjoying a resurgent run in recent weeks, while the back four of Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy picks itself.
Casemiro is a certainty to feature at the base of the three-man midfield for Real Madrid. Fellow South American Federico Valverde has become an indispensable member of Zidane’s side and should be retained in the lineup against Celta. There could be a change in the third midfield slot, though, with Toni Kroos likely to replace Luka Modric, who started against Osasuna.
Hazard, despite returning to fitness, is unlikely to be given a start on Sunday, considering he has been out of action for three months. Isco, who has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in recent weeks, should start once again against Celta Vigo, having scored in the win against Osasuna.
But, there is likely to be a change in the attacking trident with Gareth Bale likely to drop out after an underwhelming display last time out. Replacing the Welshman ought to be Vinicius Junior, who has impressed in recent matches. Speaking of the Brazilian attacker, Zidane said, “It’s a matter of working hard. He’s at an age where he has to work hard.”
“He’s got real quality but if he combines it with hard work, he can go on and achieve big things. I always like to say that players can improve right up until the final year of their careers. He wants to work and that’s good.”
Vinicius should occupy the left flank for Real Madrid while Karim Benzema should spearhead the attack against Celta on Sunday night.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco, Benzema, Vinicius