Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard have been ruled out but Toni Kroos is fit and in contention to start when Real Madrid take on SD Eibar in La Liga.
Real Madrid will be aiming to make up ground in the La Liga title race when they lock horns with relegation battlers SD Eibar at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Saturday afternoon.
Heading into the game, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane continues to be plagued with injury problems to some of his key players. Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard and Federico Valverde are yet to recover fully from their recent issues and have been ruled out while captain Sergio Ramos also misses out after picking up an injury during the international break.
“He was fine when he went away with Spain. He didn’t play for us but he was feeling good. It was a normal process. Then he played a little bit and then following the game he felt a twinge, which turned out to be a small injury and I hope he’s back with us soon,” Zidane said, speaking of his captain in his pre-match press conference.
With Ramos unavailable, Raphael Varane and Nacho will once again form the centre-back pairing for Real Madrid on Saturday. Lucas Vazquez ought to continue at right-back ahead of Alvaro Odriozola while Ferland Mendy is the undisputed starter at left-back. Thibaut Courtois will be manning the goal against Eibar.
There is some good news on the injury front in the midfield department for Zidane as mainstay Toni Kroos is fit and available for selection. The ex-Bayern Munich superstar had to withdraw from international duty with Germany due to an injury but has recovered in time for the Eibar game, Zidane confirmed.
“He’s better. He had an injury which stopped him going away with his national side. He stayed here with us, then he trained today, so we’ll see. We’re not going to do anything silly because there are a lot of games but he’s in good shape, he’s with us and that’s the key thing,” Zidane said.
Despite Zidane’s words, Kroos is expected to get the nod on Saturday given his importance to the team. He will have Luka Modric and Casemiro as his partners in the centre of the park as usual.
Moving into the attacking third, the absence of Hazard gives Vinicius Junior another chance to stake a claim for more regular involvement from the left-wing. On the right, Marco Asensio is likely to edge out Rodrygo Goes for the starting berth. There is no looking past Karim Benzema in the centre-forward slot for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius