Karim Benzema is back from injury while Gareth Bale is in contention to feature when Real Madrid face Atletico Madrid in El Derbi this weekend.
Real Madrid will be aiming to tighten their hold at the summit of the 2021/22 La Liga table when they lock horns with neighbours and reigning champions Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night.
Leading up to the game, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has been handed a double injury boost as Karim Benzema, and Gareth Bale are back to full fitness and have been named in the squad for the derby. Dani Ceballos remains the only player who is unavailable for selection for Los Blancos as he continues on his road to recovery.
“Benzema has trained, is feeling good, is available and will play tomorrow. I want to mention that all of the players trained and Ceballos will join in with us next week. He’s [Bale] doing fine and is in the squad list. I don’t know whether he’ll start. Gareth is ready to play from the off or could even play a full 90 minutes,” Ancelotti said in his pre-match press conference.
Real Madrid are unlikely to make a lot of changes to the side that saw off Inter Milan comfortably in the UEFA Champions League in midweek. Thibaut Courtois remains the undisputed starter between the sticks for the Merengues, while Eder Militao and David Alaba are the first-choice centre-backs for Ancelotti. Out wide, Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy pick themselves as well.
Moving into the midfield unit, the likes of Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are pushing for starts. But they will once again have to make do with a substitute appearance as Ancelotti is expected to stick with his preferred trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro, all of whom have been crucial in Los Blancos’ 12-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
Bale’s return provides the manager with an added option for the right flank apart from Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Rodrygo Goes. However, the Brazilian is likely to get the nod on Sunday night due to the work rate he offers, which will come in handy against Atletico Madrid. There is just no looking past the in-form Vinicius Junior on the opposite flank.
Benzema’s return to fitness means that the Frenchman, in all likelihood, come back into the starting XI, replacing Luka Jovic as the centre-forward against Atletico Madrid.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius.