Eden Hazard is set to return, but Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos miss out as Real Madrid get set to take on Villarreal on Saturday.
Real Madrid will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with Villarreal at Estadio de la Ceramica on Saturday evening. And, Zinedine Zidane is missing a number of key players for his side’s latest fixture.
The major absentees for Real Madrid are Sergio Ramos, Casemiro and Karim Benzema, while Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola and Luka Jovic are unavailable as well, despite resuming training. Ramos picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty with Spain. Casemiro and Militao have recovered from COVID-19, but are seemingly not fully fit to participate against Villarreal.
Benzema’s exclusion, though, appears to be precautionary ahead of the key Champions League tie against Inter Milan next week. Meanwhile, Jovic is sidelined after testing positive for coronavirus, and will likely miss the next couple of fixtures for Real Madrid as well.
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However, there is some good news as well, with Dani Carvajal and Eden Hazard fit and available. The duo has been included in the Real Madrid travelling squad and should return to the starting lineup straightaway. Raphael Varane is fit enough to participate versus Villarreal as well, as he deals with a shoulder injury sustained while representing France.
Zidane provided an update on each injury-riddled player during his pre-match press conference, starting with Carvajal and Nacho. The Real Madrid boss said, “The players are ready for tomorrow. Nacho and Carvajal have trained with the group and the situation with Casemiro, Hazard and Militão is different because they were not injured, but they have been training at home.”
“It’s bad news when any player is injured, but today is another day and we know that Sergio [Ramos] will not be there. We want him to recover quickly. Varane is not 100% but he’s committed and wants to play. We will see about tomorrow’s game, but he will be there.”
Varane should be fit enough to start, with Nacho starting alongside him at the heart of the Real Madrid defence in the absence of Ramos. Carvajal and Ferland Mendy ought to be the full-back pairing, with Thibaut Courtois starting in goal.
Real Madrid should line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Villarreal, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos expected to form the midfield double pivot, while Martin Odegaard will reprise the No.10 role. As iterated earlier, Hazard will likely return to the starting lineup straightaway, slotting on the left-wing.
On the right flank, Marco Asensio ought to get the nod over Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo Goes. As for the central striker’s berth, Mariano Diaz should get a rare opportunity to impress in the absence of Benzema and Jovic.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Kroos; Asensio, Odegaard, Hazard; Mariano