Marco Asensio is set to return while Martin Odegaard should start in place of Isco when Real Madrid face Levante at Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday.
Real Madrid will hope to enter the international break on a positive note when they lock horns with Levante at Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday evening. And, Zinedine Zidane has an injury crisis to contend with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Defence, in particular, is a major issue for the Real Madrid boss, who is down to his bare bones, especially in the right-back slot. Both Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola are out injured and during his pre-match press conference, Zidane was quizzed about the weird position he finds himself in.
“We’re not pleased with what’s happened to [Álvaro] Odriozola and [Dani] Carvajal, but we can’t go looking for excuses and other players will come in and play. I don’t like injuries, but it’s something that can happen. We must be patient. When you’re a player, being injured is the worst thing.”
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The absence of Odriozola and Carvajal, in addition to that of Eder Militao, means Zidane will have to deploy a makeshift right-back against Levante, with Nacho and Lucas Vazquez the options at his disposal in the travelling squad. And, Vazquez should get the nod over his compatriot on the right side of the Real Madrid defence.
On the opposite flank, Zidane has both Ferland Mendy and Marcelo available, with Mendy expected to replace Marcelo. At the heart of the Real Madrid defence, there is no looking past Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, with Thibaut Courtois an automatic pick in goal.
Up ahead in midfield, Toni Kroos is another player who is unavailable due to injury, while Luka Modric could be given a breather after starting in the midweek game against Real Valladolid. That means Zidane could revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Casemiro and Federico Valverde starting in the double pivot.
In front of them, Martin Odegaard and Isco are the options to reprise the no. 10 role. Isco started last time out in the hole, but should make way for Odegaard against Levante. As for the wings, Zidane has a pretty big group to pick from, with Eden Hazard the only major absentee. In particular, the focus will be on Marco Asensio.
“He [Asensio] is an important player and that’s always been the case. He now has to get back to 100% in every aspect. Everything’s in place for him to have a great season, I’m convinced of that. He’s got the ability to score goals and we know all about his attributes. He’s a very direct player and that’s what I ask of him, that he looks to score every time he takes to the pitch,” Zidane said.
Asensio should get the nod to start on the right flank, with Vinicius Junior also returning to the starting lineup, on the left wing. Karim Benzema will lead the line for Real Madrid against Levante, with Luka Jovic having to suffice with a place on the bench this time.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Valverde; Asensio, Odegaard, Vinicius Jr.; Benzema