Federico Valverde could potentially come into contention to feature when Real Madrid face Atletico Madrid in El Derbi on Saturday night.
Real Madrid will brace themselves for yet another challenging contest as they play hosts to cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in a must-win game in La Liga on Saturday night.
The Spanish champions are heading into this game on the back of two difficult encounters against Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach. So naturally, coach Zinedine Zidane could find it imperative to make some changes, especially to the side that featured against Sevilla last weekend.
Fortunately for the Real Madrid boss, he has been blessed with the return of two key players in Federico Valverde and Dani Carvajal this week while Sergio Ramos also returned to the starting lineup in the midweek fixture.
Carvajal and Ramos are both likely to feature in defence for Los Blancos this weekend, with the former replacing Lucas Vazquez at right-back. On the opposite flank, Ferland Mendy should continue to get the nod ahead of Marcelo, who has found it difficult to get regular playing time this season. Zidane was also asked about Marcelo’s lack of game-time during the pre-match presser.
“I’m always going to have faith in these players. It’s true they [Isco and Marcelo] haven’t played as much lately but they’re absolutely in my plans. They’ve shown the players they are for a long time with what they’ve achieved here and it’s simply a case of them playing less recently. I have to pick a team every three days, that’s my job, but they’re training well and I’ll be needing everyone in the group.”
The Real Madrid boss also confirmed that Federico Valverde “has trained normally” and is in contention to feature against Atletico Madrid. However, it remains unlikely that the Uruguayan international will be rushed back into the team, though it also means Zidane will be forced to test the full mettle of Luka Modric by starting him once again.
The Croat should form the three-man Real Madrid midfield unit alongside Toni Kroos and Casemiro, with Valverde most likely to feature as a second half substitute.
Meanwhile, in the attacking department, Rodrygo could be replaced by Marco Asensio. The Spaniard will form the three-man Real Madrid attack alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, though Zidane also has the option of deploying Vazquez in a more attacking role with Carvajal now back from injury.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Vinicius, Benzema, Asensio