Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior will miss out, but Eden Hazard is in line to start when Real Madrid face off against Granada in La Liga.
Real Madrid will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways and stretch their lead at the top of the La Liga table when they lock horns with Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti will have to contend with a few fitness issues heading into the game as star striker Karim Benzema is not fully recovered from his injury and will miss out. His fellow forward Mariano Diaz and left-back Ferland Mendy are also ruled out. In addition to that, Vinicius Junior has been ruled out of the contest due to suspension for the accumulation of yellow cards.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Ancelotti provided an update on the squad, saying: “We had the injuries to Karim, Mariano and Mendy, but they will all be back next week. I think that this tough period we’ve had will come to an end next week when the three of them are back with us.”
There are unlikely to be a lot of changes made to the lineup that took the field against Athletic Bilbao in midweek. Thibaut Courtois is the obvious starter in goal for Real Madrid, while Eder Militao is a certainty to feature in defence. Nacho Fernandez ought to partner him after impressing in midweek, with David Alaba set to continue at left-back. Dani Carvajal should come in for Lucas Vazquez at right-back.
The midfield trident is unlikely to be tampered with by manager Ancelotti, as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro are expected to start again. Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga will once again have to satisfy with a place on the bench on Sunday.
The attack is where things will get tricky for Ancelotti with regard to team selection. Benzema and Vinicius’ absence will hurt Real Madrid a great deal. But having tried to field the team without a striker in midweek, the manager is likely to reinstate a natural No. 9 to the lineup, which should see Luka Jovic feature against Granada.
Eden Hazard, who was an unused substitute in the midweek cup tie, is likely to make the starting XI. Speaking of the Belgian, Ancelotti confirmed that he was fit, and there were no personal problems between him and the Belgian. “When I say that nothing has happened, I’m referring to his personal situation and the relationship. Nothing has happened in terms of his fitness, he’s fine and is training well,” he said.
The former Chelsea superstar should slot in on his preferred left-wing slot, while Marco Asensio, who was one of the few bright spots against Athletic, should be retained on the right flank.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Asensio, Jovic, Hazard.