Martin Odegaard is expected to make his first start for Real Madrid when he comes up against former club Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Real Madrid will be looking to start the defence of of their La Liga crown on a positive note when they travel to San Sebastian to face off against Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena on Sunday. Ahead of the game, manager Zinedine Zidane has been handed a major boost as playmaker Martin Odegaard is deemed fit and available, after having been initially declared doubtful for the game.

Providing an update on the Norwegian’s condition in his pre-match press conference, the Real Madrid manager said, “He’s felt a bit of discomfort, but I think, he’s fine. He’s back here and the role he’ll play will be just the same as all of the other players.”

However, Real Madrid will have to make do without the services of Eden Hazard, who carried an injury from the international break into the pre-season, and is unavailable for selection. Marco Asensio, too, misses out due to an injury sustained during the international break.

With Sergio Ramos fit and available, he should feature at the heart of the Real Madrid defence against Real Sociedad. He will have Raphael Varane for the 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 was one of the most consistent performers for Real Madrid over the course of the triumphant 2019/20 campaign. He will be key for Los Blancos on Friday night to keep a lid on the impact of Mikel Merino and Mikel Oyarzabal.

While the Brazilian occupies the No. 6 role, the creative onus will fall upon the shoulders of Toni Kroos and Odegaard, who is likely to start against Real Sociedad after being announced in the squad list. He is likely to add to the creativity through the right, where Real Madrid will need to break the defensive stronghold of Nacho Monreal.

With Hazard unavailable, Viniciur Jr. is the most obvious choice for Zidane at the left wing. He will be looking to make a huge impact as he gets his first chance to impress in Real Madrid’s title defence, which could go a long way in this hectic season.

Karim Benzema is the automatic pick to spearhead the Merengues’ attack on Sunday night. There are not too many contenders for the final spot in the team, so Rodrygo Goes picks himself in that right wing role in the absence of Asensio, Mariano Diaz and the now-departed Gareth Bale.

Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Odegaard, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius

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