Rodrygo Goes is set to be rewarded for his midweek performance with a place in the Real Madrid starting lineup against Valencia on Sunday.
Real Madrid will have the chance to leapfrog Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga table when they take on Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday night. And Carlo Ancelotti has a largely unchanged squad at his disposal ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Toni Kroos remains the major absentee for Real Madrid with a muscle injury, while the likes of Marcelo (leg), Ferland Mendy (muscle injury), Dani Ceballos (ankle) and Gareth Bale (hamstring) are also unavailable to take on Valencia.
Bale was one of the topics of discussion during Ancelotti’s pre-match press conference, with the Real Madrid manager saying that he was unsure of the timeline of his return. Ancelotti said, “We still don’t know how long he will need to recover.”
“It’s quite a bad injury, but it’s hard to know how long. It’s a shame because he had been doing well for us and his country. We have to wait. Sometimes players pick up injuries due to the high number of games they have to play.”
Eduardo Camavinga, who has made an instant impact since joining Real Madrid on deadline day, was also discussed by Ancelotti, who heaped praise on the French prodigy, saying, “It’s surprised me. We all know about his physical and technical attributes.”
“He’s also shown his personality and character on the pitch, which we didn’t know so much about. He has a strong personality. He doesn’t let what’s going on in the game affect him and he has confidence in his ability.”
Camavinga is in contention to start against Valencia on Sunday, but Ancelotti is likely to continue his easing in process, meaning Federico Valverde will retain his spot ahead of him. Luka Modric and Casemiro will be the two other men in the three-man unit.
Up ahead in attack, Rodrygo Goes will hope to be rewarded with a start after a fine display off the bench against Inter Milan. And Ancelotti was quick to praise the Brazilian in his presser, saying, “He’s a complete forward. He’s really quick and has great ability. He’s very composed in front of goal and he can play in any position in attack. He’s still very young, but he represents the present and future for Real Madrid.”
Rodrygo ought to replace Lucas Vazquez on the right wing, with Vinicius Jr. and Karim Benzema retaining their spots in the attacking unit. So, Eden Hazard misses out again, as he continues to strive to regain peak form at Real Madrid.
Finally, the defensive setup ought to remain unchanged, with David Alaba and Eder Militao forming the central defensive partnership, while Nacho will be the left-back in the absence of Mendy and Marcelo. On the right flank, there is no looking past Dani Carvajal, with Thibaut Courtois an automatic pick in goal.
Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Nacho; Valverde, Casemiro, Modric; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.