Eden Hazard should be back into the starting XI for Real Madrid, while Eder Militao should also feature against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Real Madrid will be aiming to overturn a first leg deficit when they face off against Manchester City in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Friday night.
Ahead of the game, manager Zinedine Zidane has been handed a major boost as wing-wizard Eden Hazard is fit and available, after having missed the La Liga title run-in last month due to an injury.
Providing an update on the Belgian’s condition in his pre-match press conference, Zidane said, “He felt some discomfort towards the end of the La Liga season but he’s much better now and we’ve had plenty of time to prepare for the match. He’s fine and feeling confident.”
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However, Real Madrid will have to make do without the services of captain Sergio Ramos, who is suspended for the game, while Gareth Bale has been left behind in Spain by Zidane. Marcelo, who was reported to be carrying a niggle, is 100% fit and available for selection, Zidane has confirmed.
With Ramos unavailable, Eder Militao should feature at the heart of the Real Madrid defence against Manchester City. He will have Raphael Varane for company while Dani Carvajal should start at right-back. In spite of Marcelo’s availability, Ferland Mendy is likely to feature on the left side of the defence that will guard Thibaut Courtois in goal.
Casemiro has been one of the most consistent performers for Real Madrid over the course of the 2019/20 campaign. He will be key for Los Blancos on Friday night to keep a lid on the impact of Kevin De Bruyne.
While the Brazilian occupies the No. 6 role, the creative onus will fall upon the shoulders of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who is likely to be preferred over Federico Valverde given the form that the Croat had been in post the lockdown.
With Hazard available, him starting on the left flank for Real Madrid against Manchester City should pretty much be a no-brainer. He will be looking to make a huge impact upon his return to England for the first time since switching to Spain last summer.
Karim Benzema is the obvious choice to spearhead the Merengues’ attack on Friday night. The likes of Marco Asensio, Vinicius Junior, Isco and Rodrygo Goes will battle it out for the final spot in the frontline. Rodrygo, who has scored four goals and set up two more in just four Champions League encounters this term, is likely to get the nod.
Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Militao, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Hazard