Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard are in contention to feature while Federico Valverde could start when Real Madrid face Elche in La Liga on Saturday.
Real Madrid will be aiming to get back to winning ways in La Liga and close the gap to the top of the table when they lock horns with relegation battlers Elche at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano this weekend.
Heading into the game, manager Zinedine Zidane has been handed a double injury boost as both Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard are fit and available for selection once again. However, Alvaro Odriozola and Marcelo have been sidelined along with Dani Carvajal and Mariano Diaz, with the quartet not making the 20-man squad named by Zidane.
Speaking of the returning duo in his pre-match press conference, the Real Madrid manager said, “We’re very happy to have them back. We got three back last week and two this week. Our plan is for them to get some minutes, but I’m not going to say any more.”
Judging by Zidane’s statement, it is unlikely that either Ramos or Hazard will make the starting lineup on Saturday, especially with the crucial UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash against Atalanta coming up next week. But, there are unlikely to be many changes made to the team that has done fairly well in recent weeks.
That would mean Nacho and Raphael Varane pair up at the heart of the Real Madrid defence once again with Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy continuing as the full-backs on the right and left sides respectively. Thibaut Courtois remains the undisputed choice between the sticks for the hosts against Elche.
Casemiro is suspended for the upcoming Champions League clash against Atalanta and will definitely start on Saturday afternoon. However, the ageing Luka Modric could be given a breather by Zidane, with Federico Valverde getting a run-out in place of the veteran Croat.
“We know who Valverde is as a player, the tempo and speed he can bring to the team and of course we’re going to be counting on him. We’ll see how we’re going to manage him,” the manager said about the Uruguayan midfielder in his press conference. The final slot in the centre of the park should fall to in-form man Toni Kroos.
As mentioned previously, Hazard is unlikely to be rushed back into action on Saturday. But with Marco Asensio struggling to make an impact, he could be set to make way for Isco on the left flank while Rodrygo Goes gets another chance on the right side. There is no looking past Karim Benzema for the centre-forward slot for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Isco