Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are set to return to the side while Eden Hazard misses out as Real Madrid get set to take on Villarreal in La Liga.
Real Madrid will square off against Villarreal in their final game of the 2020/21 La Liga at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Saturday afternoon, with the title race set to be decided on the day. And, heading into the crunch contest at home, Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane has greeted mixed news on the injury front.
The good news is that captain Sergio Ramos and fellow defensive partner Raphael Varane are both back from their respective injury issues and have been named in the squad for the Villarreal clash. However, Eden Hazard has once again been ruled out after picking up a fresh knock. He joins the likes of Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy on the sidelines while Toni Kroos misses out with coronavirus.
Providing an update on Ramos during his press conference on Friday, Zidane said, “He’ll be with us. He trained normally today. You’ll see the line-up tomorrow.” When probed about Hazard and his situation, the Frenchman added, “He’s got a knock. It’s not much but we don’t want to risk him. He didn’t train today because something’s up. He won’t be available tomorrow.”
With Varane and Ramos back at his disposal, things could get difficult for Zidane in terms of picking his defensive personnel as Nacho and Eder Militao have performed admirably in recent weeks. So, this gives the way to the possibility of Real Madrid lining up with all four them at the back, with Militao and Nacho taking up the full-back slots while Varane and Ramos feature as the centre-halves.
Alvaro Odriozola and youngster Miguel Gutierrez, who had done particularly well in the win over Athletic Bilbao last time out, will have to make do with spots on the bench. There is no looking past Belgian international Thibaut Courtois between the posts for Real Madrid when Villarreal come visiting.
With Kroos unavailable, Zidane is unlikely to tinker much with his midfield unit as Casemiro and Luka Modric pick themselves in two of the three spots while Federico Valverde should once again get the nod ahead of the likes of Isco and Antonio Blanco in the remaining slot in the centre of the pitch on Saturday.
Moving into the attacking unit, Zidane has preferred to use the Brazilian duo of Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Junior on the flanks in the last couple of matches and that combination could stay intact as Marco Asensio has not been particularly effective and Hazard is not available. Finally, Karim Benzema is the obvious started as the lone striker for the Merengues against Unai Emery’s side.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Militao, Varane, Ramos, Nacho; Modric, Casemiro, Valverde; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.