Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal have been ruled out while Alvaro Odriozola could be in line for a rare La Liga start when Real Madrid face Levante on Saturday.

Real Madrid will be pushing to reduce the gap to the top of the table when they lock horns with Levante UD at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Saturday afternoon in Matchweek 21 of La Liga. Heading into the game, the reigning champions have a host of roster issues to contend with.

Manager Zinedine Zidane will himself be absent from the dugout as he is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus. The same goes for defender Nacho while the likes of Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vazquez are all out with injuries, along with Federico Valverde and Rodrygo Goes.

In Zidane’s absence, assistant coach David Bettoni took over press duties and provided an update on the condition of Ramos and Carvajal on the eve of the game. “I see him every day and he’s in his recovery process. He’s a great professional, our captain. We’re not going to risk him for this game,” he said, speaking of Ramos.

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“He’s got a niggle and we don’t want to risk it. It’s nothing serious and we want the player to be 100%,” he added, addressing Carvajal’s condition. With no Carvajal and Vazquez in the 20-man squad, a rare La Liga start beckons for Alvaro Odriozola at right-back while Raphael Varane, Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy will complete the defence in front of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

With Martin Odegaard having left on loan and Valverde unavailable, there are unlikely to be any changes in the middle of the park. Casemiro ought to start at the base of the three-man midfield unit, flanked by the veteran duo of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

Up ahead in attack, there is little room of rotation as well with no Vazquez and Rodrygo available. Vinicius Junior has recently been somewhat out of favour and Bettoni addressed the Brazilian’s lack of game time. “During the season there are times when players are involved more or less. He’s playing less at the minute, but he is an important player in the squad.”

Despite the assistant coach’s seal of approval, Vinicius is unlikely to start on Saturday against Levante. Instead, it will be Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard who start out wide while Karim Benzema spearheads the Real Madrid attack at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Militao, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Hazard

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