Real Madrid have hardly put a foot wrong since play got back underway in La Liga.
Los Blancos have not dropped any points since the restart, and this has seen them replace rivals Barcelona at the top of the table – where they now sit four points clear. They also come into Sunday’s clash with Athletic Club having managed to keep clean sheets in each of their last three games.
The importance of Sunday’s game to Real’s season cannot be understated, with Zinedine Zidane’s men having the opportunity to move seven points clear at the top before Barcelona play later on Sunday.
We at 90min take a look at who should start for Los Blancos…
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – Thibaut Courtois is enjoying a very impressive 2019/20 campaign, having already managed to keep 16 league clean sheets – three of which have come in his side’s last three games. Marshalling his backline while also producing flying saves to deny opponents, Courtois has once again entered the discussion of who is the best goalkeeper in the world.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – Dani Carvajal is undoubtedly Real’s first choice right-back, and his work rate will be crucial to his side against Athletic. Zidane will be looking to Carvajal to keep Athletic’s forwards quiet, while also getting forward to support the attack and provide the width.
Eder Militao (CB) – With Raphael Varane ruled out of Sunday’s game after suffering an injury in Real’s last game, Zidane will turn to Eder Militao. It will be a chance for the Brazilian defender to prove his worth and show that he has what it takes to be a starting defender for Real Madrid in the years to come.
Sergio Ramos (CB) – Love him or hate him, Sergio Ramos is continuing to perform at the highest level. The captain leads by example, both in attack and defence, with his winner from the penalty spot against Getafe his 11th goal of the season. Ramos will be hoping to lead his side to another three points as they look to take another step closer to the league title.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – Ferland Mendy has often been selected by Zidane in the ‘bigger’ matches, with the left-back deemed to be more defensively resolute than Marcelo.
Casemiro (CDM) – Casemiro remains one of the most underrated footballers in world football, but his importance to this Real side cannot be ignored. The Brazilian does the so-called dirty work in the team, but his game involves so much more than just breaking up play, as he links play expertly as well. A vital member of this Real team.
Toni Kroos (CM) – Toni Kroos has played the full 90 minutes in all but one of his side’s six games since play got back underway, and we can expect to see the German start again on Sunday. His vision and stunning range of passing make him a key creator for Real, and Zidane will be looking to him to dictate the game once again.
Fede Valverde (CM) – Energy, hunger and desire, while also being equally capable defensively as he is offensively, Fede Valverde has a very bright career ahead of him. The midfielder is expected to come in for Luka Modric as Zidane looks to add greater solidity and energy in the centre of the park.
Isco (RW) – Isco really struggled to get into the game against Getafe before being taken off just after the hour mark. But, with Valverde in midfield, he is expected to retain his place on the right wing as Zidane will be looking to him to act as the link between the midfield and the attack, picking up pockets of space to create danger.
Rodrygo (LW) – Vinicius Junior was the man chosen to replace Eden Hazard in the starting lineup last time out, but he wasn’t able to impact the game as much as he would have liked. Instead, Rodrygo will be given his chance from the start this time around. Zidane has praised his development and growth, while his eye for goal further makes him a nightmare to play against.
Karim Benzema (ST) – Karim Benzema is enjoying a fine season, with 22 goals and ten assists to his name so far in 2019/20. The striker’s finishing has been ruthless, but it is his hold up play and work rate which continue to be overlooked and under-appreciated by so many. A world class centre-forward.
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