Picking the Best Potential Real Madrid Lineup to Face Girona in the Copa Del Rey

Real Madrid play Girona in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter final on Thursday, with Santiago Solari potentially using the fixture to provide some vital minutes to several fringe players.

The game provides Real Madrid with a great opportunity to give themselves a healthy lead going into the second leg in Girona. Furthermore, it could be Real Madrid’s best opportunity to win some silverware this season.

They will face a tough test however in Catalan side Girona, who knocked out Los Blancos’ rivals Atletico Madrid in the previous round.

Here is how Real could lineup for the clash on Thursday.

1. Goalkeeper and Defenders

Sergio Ramos

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – Injury to Keylor Navas means that the summer recruit from Chelsea is highly likely to start the game.

Alvaro Odriozola (RB) – The 23-year-old Spanish full back has missed out on Real’s last five league games, meaning that a cup appearance could be a great opportunity for some competitive minutes.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – El Capitan has played the first leg of both previous rounds of this competition, but did not play in the return fixture of either.

Nacho (CB) – On the bench during Real’s 2-0 victory against Sevilla, he could be another squad member who will look to gain some minutes during this game, especially after missing the whole of December through injury.

Marcelo (LB) – Dropped for Real’s last two La Liga fixtures with Sergio Reguilon preferred instead, the experienced Brazilian could get a start on Thursday.

2. Midfielders

Isco - Soccer Player

Federico Valverde (CM) – The 20-year-old Uruguayan was restricted to a two-minute cameo in the victory over Sevilla. However, he has played a part in every Real Madrid game in the cup this season.

Dani Ceballos (CM) – Whether Ceballos starts this game could be down to the fitness of Toni Kroos, who could return from injury for the game.

Brahim Diaz (LM) – The Man City recruit is yet to start a game for Los Blancos, therefore this game could see the 19-year-old grace the Santiago Bernabeu from the first whistle.

Isco (CAM) – Out of favour under Solari and constantly linked with a move away, this game could see Isco try to work his way back into the picture, or put himself in the shop window.

Vinicius Junior (RM) – The Brazilian Under-20 international has started every Copa del Rey game and has become somewhat of a regular under Solari of late.

3. Forward

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema (ST) – Started against Sevilla at the weekend after recovering from a fractured finger. Like Ramos, Benzema has also started both first legs in their Copa del Rey campaign so far. Solari’s shortage of other options up front may see Benzema start again for Los Blancos.

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John Toshack Urges Gareth Bale to ‘Try & Copy’ Cristiano Ronaldo to Save His Real Madrid Career

Former Wales and Real Madrid manager John Toshack has called on Gareth Bale to replicate Cristiano Ronaldo if he wants to revive his career at Real Madrid.

The 29-year-old winger has had his six-year spell at the Santiago Bernabéu blighted by injury, although Bale has still been directly involved in 161 goals in just 212 appearances with Los Blancos.

Gareth Bale,Cristiano Ronaldo

Following Ronaldo’s summer move to Juventus, however, Bale has been unable to step up and he has only scored four league goals this season, leaving his future with the reigning European champions in doubt.

Former manager Toshack, who handed Bale his debut with Wales and has twice taken charge of Real Madrid, has urged Bale to “try and copy” what Ronaldo accomplished in the Spanish capital by becoming the focal point of their attack.

“Cristiano plays as a winger, scores and sets up goals for the others,” Toshack told AS. “There’s no doubt that Gareth is one of the best players of all time.

If he wants to continue there, he should try and copy what Cristiano does. If you look at what he’s achieved, it makes you wonder what he would have done if he hadn’t been so unlucky with injuries.

“I hope that he goes on to do more than he’s done so far, because when you come back from an injury, you know that you have to start all over again.”

Since leaving Real Madrid, Ronaldo has gone on to score or assist on average one goal a game in Serie A, helping Juventus open up a nine-point gap at the top of the league table.

TOPSHOT-FBL-KSA-ITA-JUVENTUS-MILAN

In comparison, Real Madrid are 10 points behind La Liga champions Barcelona and have scored fewer goals this season than Levante and relegation candidates Celta Vigo.

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Real Madrid Preparing £90m Summer Offer for Juventus Forward Paulo Dybala

?Real Madrid will make a £90m bid to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus next summer, dealing a blow to Manchester City’s hopes of signing the Argentine striker.

Los Blancos have been struggling to score goals this season since selling talisman Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus last year, and they believe that Dybala could be the answer to their prayers.

Paulo Dybala

?The Sun claims that this would be a blow to Pep Guardiola, who has been a fan of ?Dybala for some time and would like to bolster his attacking options at ?Manchester City.

Despite their extensive financial resources, City have vowed not to get involved in any bidding wars, and Guardiola recently name-checked ?Real Madrid as one of the clubs with which the Premier League champions cannot compete in the transfer market.

“If you are the only one who want players it’s easy,” he said. “But if you want one and many, many clubs want him it’s more complicated, especially if it’s Madrid or ?Barcelona. Normally when you are involved with Madrid and Barcelona you are going to lose. No chance.”

Cristiano Ronaldo,Paulo Dybala

After scoring 22 league goals last season, Dybala has managed just two so far in this campaign as he has been overshadowed by Ronaldo, though he did score five in the Champions League group stage.

?Juventus could seek to cash in on Dybala at the end of the season, with their attacking options set to be bolstered by the arrival of Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal.

Real Madrid attacking midfielder Isco, out of favour under Santiago Solari, could also join the Italian champions on loan with a view to a permanent deal.

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Real Madrid vs Girona Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Real Madrid host Girona in the quarter final of the Copa del Rey on Thursday night, with Los Blancos looking for a positive result to take into the second leg as they search for silverware in what has been a disappointing season thus far.

Another incentive for Madrid ahead of the cup tie will be that bitter rivals Barcelona have lifted the cup in each of the last four seasons, giving Santiago Solari’s side a chance to end that period of dominance with a successful campaign.

Santiago Solari

Girona between Real and a place in the semi finals, with the Catalan club already registering one giant killing on the way to the quarters after beating Atletico Madrid on away goals in the round of 16.

Here is 90min’s preview of the first leg of the quarter final.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Thursday 24 January
What Time Is Kick Off? 20.30 (BST)
Where Is It Played? Santiago Bernabeu
TV Channel/Live Stream? BeIN Sports
Referee? TBC

Team News

?

Los Blancos will hope to welcome back Germany international midfielder ?Toni Kroos and 23-year-old Spaniard Marcos Llorente on Thursday, with both having not played a game since the turn of the new year with groin injuries.

Toni Kroos

There are still several players who remain doubtful for the game. Mariano Diaz and ?Marco Asensio have both resumed first team training, however it is not clear whether they’ll have the desired fitness levels for Thursday’s clash.

Welsh attacker ?Gareth Bale is also back in training, but the Girona match may come too soon.

Girona will be boosted by the return of top goalscorer Cristhian Stuani, after the Uruguayan striker served a suspension in the team’s 3-2 defeat to Real Betis on Sunday.

Cristhian Stuani

Manchester City loanee Patrick Roberts is still missing with a hamstring injury for Girona, with the attacker not expected to return until February.


Predicted Lineups

Real Madrid ?Courtois; Odriozola, ?Ramos, Nacho, ?Marcelo, Valverde, Ceballos, Diaz, ?Isco, Vinicius, ?Benzema.
Girona Iraizoz; Ramalho, Bernardo, Muniesa, D Luiz, Granell, Porro, Fernandez, A Garcia, Stuani, Doumbia.

Head to Head Record

There’s far from a vast history of matches between Real Madrid and Girona, although when the two sides have faced off the games have proved to be very entertaining affairs, with the three meetings producing 17 goals.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-GIRONA-REALMADRID

The Catalan side took a surprise victory in the first meeting in October 2017, winning the game 2-1 at Estadi Montilivi. Isco opened the scoring for Real in the first half, before Stuani and Portu turned the game around to earn the then La Liga first-timers a historic victory.

The other two matches have gone as you would expect, with Real Madrid successful in both. The second game between the two last season saw Real avenge their shock defeat by thrashing Girona 6-3 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. 

Girona were also on the end of some more punishment when Madrid visited them on the second matchday of the current La Liga season, Julen Lopetegui leading Real to a 4-1 away win.


Recent Form

Santiago Solari has seen a slight resurgence from his Real Madrid team but they are still far from their imperious best. They were defeated in their last Copa del Rey game away at Leganes, but were already 3-0 up going into the tie due to their performance in the home leg. 

Luka Modric

They will hope that their victory against Sevilla in La Liga at the weekend can set the foundations for a good run of form and consistency, which Madrid will need to help turnaround their uncharacteristically slow start to their season.

Before their defeat to Real Betis at the weekend, Girona had seen their last five games end in stalemates.However, that run of games did also include their spectacular 3-3 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano against Atletico Madrid which saw them progress to this stage.

Here’s how each team has fared in their last five matches:

Real Madrid Girona
Real Madrid 2-0 Sevilla (19/1) Real Betis 3-2 Girona (20/1)
Leganes 1-0 Real Madrid (16/1) Atletico Madrid 3-3 Girona (16/1)
Real Betis 1-2 Real Madrid (13/1) Girona 1-1 Alaves (12/1)
Real Madrid 3-0 Leganes (9/1) Girona 1-1 Atletico Madrid (9/1)
Real Madrid 0-2 Real Sociedad (6/1) Levante 2-2 Girona (4/1)

Prediction

Alvaro Odriozola,Federico Valverde,Lucas Vazquez,Sergio Ramos

The result of this game will hugely depend on Real Madrid and Girona’s attitude towards the cup fixture. Real Madrid are involved in a battle for Champions League qualification and Girona are in mid-table but only four points clear of the relegation zone.

Real will likely rest players and Girona will go for it, and why not, it is a great opportunity for them to reach the latter stages of a cup competition. Real will win it, but only just.

Prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Girona

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Exclusive: Real Madrid Offer James Rodriguez to Premier League Top Six With Arsenal & Spurs Keen

The Premier League’s top six have been offered the services of Colombian superstar James Rodriguez by parent club Real Madrid, 90min understands.

Rodriguez is approaching the end of a two-year loan with Bayern Munich, and the German champions have the option to make the move permanent for around £40m as part of the initial agreement, which was struck in 2017. However, James has started just nine games this season for Bayern and it’s unlikely they’ll take up the option.

James Rodriguez

The 27-year-old has just over two years left on his deal with ?Real, but they are ready to move the player on permanently this month if the opportunity arises, and if there is sufficient interest. 

90min understands both Arsenal and Tottenham are keen on the attacker – it was even suggested on Tuesday that Real could ?use the player as bait to convince Spurs to sell Christian Eriksen – whilst Chelsea and Manchester United have been asked to be kept informed of the situation after intermediaries made contact about the South American.

Liverpool are also thought to be interested, but Jurgen Klopp has already distanced the club from any potential incomings this month.

Rodriguez himself is believed to be keen on sampling life in the ?Premier League, and especially in the capital, where the interest in him is strongest.

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?Arsenal coach Unai Emery would love the chance to land ?Rodriguez, but they may have to wait until the summer to be able to accommodate Rodriguez’s huge wage packet. That is, unless they can move on their own biggest earner, Mesut Ozil, who is attracting attention from clubs in Turkey.

However, with just over a week left in this window, both Ozil and Rodriguez’s next moves may have to wait until the summer.

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