Casemiro is in line to return while Eder Militao will replace the injured Dani Carvajal when Real Madrid face Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.
Real Madrid will hope to end their recent winless run in La Liga when they play hosts to Deportivo Alaves at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Saturday night. And, Zinedine Zidane has a fresh issue to contend with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Dani Carvajal is the latest absentee for Real Madrid, having sustained a groin injury in training. The Spaniard joins captain Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Odriozola, Federico Valverde, Luka Jovic and Karim Benzema on the sidelines.
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During his pre-match press conference, Zidane did provide an update on Carvajal, in addition to Benzema and Ramos, who has resumed light running. The Real Madrid boss said, “Carvajal has picked something up. I don’t know how long it’ll be but he’s got some discomfort.”
“Benzema’s was a longer issue and it’s crucial that he’s feeling okay so he can rejoin the group because have lots of games and training sessions. A player has to feel good to perform. It’s the same with Sergio Ramos. We’re not going to reveal anything but feeling better. We’ll see when we can get him back with the team but it won’t be immediately.”
With Carvajal joining Odriozola on the sidelines again, Nacho and Lucas Vazquez remain the only viable right-back options, albeit in a makeshift capacity. Zidane should give the nod to Nacho, which opens up a space at the heart of the Real Madrid defence.
So, the fit-again Eder Militao effectively replaces Carvajal in the side. Militao will be Raphael Varane’s central defensive partner, with Marcelo likely to get a rare start at left-back to provide Ferland Mendy a breather. In goal, there is no looking past Thibaut Courtois.
Up ahead in midfield, Casemiro should make his return to the starting lineup after getting some minutes under his belt against Inter Milan earlier this week. Casemiro’s return will come with a shift in formation, with Real Madrid reverting to a 4-3-3 against Alaves.
That means Martin Odegaard drops out, with Isco getting a rare start, with Toni Kroos being the third man in midfield. Luka Modric gets a breather as well. Finally, in attack, Mariano Diaz is an automatic pick due to the continued absence of Benzema and Jovic.
Mariano will lead the line for Real Madrid against Alaves, with Eden Hazard, who produced a much-improved display in the midweek fixture, starting on the left flank. Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. are vying for the final spot in the side, with Rodrygo likely to get the nod after a fine cameo in the UEFA Champions League this week.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Eder Militao, Marcelo; Isco, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Mariano, Hazard