Federico Valverde is set to replace the unavailable Luka Modric in the starting XI as Real Madrid get ready to take on Granada in the 2020/21 La Liga.
Real Madrid will be aiming to close down the gap to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid when they lock horns with Granada CF at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Wednesday night.
Ahead of the game, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has been handed a couple of injury boosts as Isco has recovered from a knock and is available for selection while Vinicius Junior is also back in contention after missing the last game due to gastroenteritis. In addition, Eden Hazard has also been included in the 24-man squad by the manager.
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However, midfield general Luka Modric does not make the cut after having missed training on Tuesday. Speaking of the veteran star in his pre-match presser, Zidane said, “We’re hoping that what Luka has is nothing, but as always we won’t take any risks. Hopefully, from what we’ve seen, it’s only a little thing. We’ll see if during these rest days we can quickly get Modric back.”
Zidane has refrained from making from changes to his starting XI despite the congested fixture schedule and is likely to keep the alterations at a minimum once again when Granada come visiting.
There is no looking past first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois between the sticks for the reigning La Liga champions. There are unlikely to be any alterations in the backline either, with Raphael Varane partnering captain Sergio Ramos at the heart of the defence, while Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy will essay the full-back roles.
Modric’s absence from the squad means there will be an enforced change in the middle of the park. While the likes of Martin Odegaard and Isco will also push for a start, it is likely that Federico Valverde will come into the side to replace the Croatian international. Casemiro and Toni Kroos pick themselves in the remaining two midfield slots.
Moving to the attacking third, Hazard’s return to the squad will come as a major boost for Real Madrid. Speaking of the Belgian’s situation, Zidane said, “It’s not been easy psychologically, but he looks very good to me. Especially down to how he trains, he’s consistent. We have to be patient, he’s happy, which is the most important thing.”
Given the nature of his fitness issues, Hazard is expected to be eased back into action, meaning he is unlikely to start against Granada on Wednesday night. Instead, Rodrygo Goes, who impressed at the weekend against Eibar, should get the nod on the left wing.
Lucas Vazquez has been one of Real Madrid’s most consistent performers in the recent run of games and should be retained on the right flank. Karim Benzema, who was the star of the show in the weekend win over Eibar, is the undisputed starter as the centre-forward for the hosts against Granada.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Rodrygo