Eden Hazard and Federico Valverde will return, while Marco Asensio is in contention to feature for the first time this season when Real Madrid take on Eibar.

Real Madrid will be hoping to keep pace with Barcelona when they play hosts to SD Eibar at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Sunday evening. And, Zinedine Zidane has received a twin boost ahead of his side’s first game since the resumption of La Liga.

Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio have both regained fitness and will be in contention to feature in some capacity against Eibar after being picked in the 23-man squad by Zidane. The only players now missing for Real Madrid now are Nacho, Lucas Vazquez and Luka Jovic.

With none of the three sidelined stars being regulars, Zidane is unlikely to be hampered much when picking the team to face Eibar. In goal, there is no looking past Thibaut Courtois, with Alphonse Areola being his deputy on the bench.

As for the back-line protecting Courtois, Raphael Varane and captain Sergio Ramos ought to pair up at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. Dani Carvajal is a certain starter as the right-back. The final spot will be contested between Marcelo and Ferland Mendy, with the latter expected to get the nod on Sunday.

Up ahead in midfield, the big bone of contention will only be for one spot, with Toni Kroos and Casemiro being automatic picks. Luka Modric started in Real Madrid’s last league game before football was put on hold in March. However, Federico Valverde should pip the veteran Croatian midfielder for the third spot in midfield.

Meanwhile, during his pre-match press conference, Zidane addressed the return of Hazard and Asensio while also speaking about Jovic’s bizarre injury, which has ruled him out for Eibar’s visit and beyond.

“The good notice is that they’ve had time to prepare, just like the other players. Marco [Asensio] has had a bit of a long-term injury but he’s now training as normal. It’s the same with Eden [Hazard]. They’re available and will be with us and that’s good news. Eden is doing really well, he’s happy to be back with us and to be back with the team.”Real Madrid

“As for [Luka] Jovic, the bad news is that he injured himself at home, it was a bad one because he’ll be out of action for a while, I don’t know how long. Let’s see if he’s able to return before the end of the season.”

Hazard is expected to return to the starting lineup straightaway, taking his place on the left side of the Real Madrid attack. On the opposite flank, Zidane has several players to choose from, with Isco expected to be picked. Finally, Karim Benzema will lead the line against Eibar. The likes of Asensio, Gareth Bale, Brahim Diaz, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. will be the backup options in attack.

Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco, Benzema, Hazard

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