Real Madrid return to La Liga action on Friday evening with a trip to Jose Zorrilla to face Real Valladolid.
Los Blancos started the first phase of the season well, but in November, endured a shock 3-2 loss to Rayo Vallecano—their only defeat in the league so far. This saw bitter rivals Barcelona leapfrog them at the top of the table.
With Real now two points adrift of Barcelona, it is vital for Carlo Ancelotti and co. to start the second part of the season on a positive note and return home from Valladolid with all three points.
Real Madrid Team News
The Brazilian trio of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr. and Eder Militao returned to Real Madrid training on Monday. This means Luka Modric, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni remain the only players unavailable for selection following their World Cup exploits in Qatar.
Modric helped Croatia win third place at the World Cup, while Tchouameni and Camavinga were a part of the France side that lost to Argentina in the final. So, the trio have been given time off until December 28.
Predicted Real Madrid Lineup vs Real Valladolid (4-3-3)
Thibaut Courtois will aim to put a disappointing World Cup campaign behind him and deliver strong performances for Real Madrid. He is a certainty to start in goal against Valladolid.
Antonio Rudiger will function alongside David Alaba at the heart of Real’s backline as they try to keep Valladolid forwards at bay. Dani Carvajal should start at right-back, while Ferland Mendy hopes to produce an eye-catching display from the left-back position.
Eder Militao’s return to training on Monday after the World Cup is a big boost, and the Brazilian centre-back is expected to be on the bench on Friday.
With Real without the services of Luka Modric, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni for the upcoming La Liga clash, Carlo Ancelotti has some big calls to make. He could use Toni Kroos as the single pivot in a 4-3-3 formation, with Federico Valverde deployed as one of the box-to-box midfielders on the right.
Dani Ceballos, expected to start as an 8 on the left, will complete Real’s engine room. The Spaniard should look to grab the opportunity with both hands and repay the manager’s faith in him against Valladolid.
Karim Benzema was absent for Real’s last two games before the break and missed the entire World Cup with an injury. However, the striker has recovered from a muscle injury and played a mid-season friendly against Leganes while France were preparing for the World Cup final.
Now that Benzema is fully fit and raring to go, Ancelotti is expected to start the Frenchman up top with Vinicius Jr. and Marco Asensio flanking him. Rodrygo Goes and Eden Hazard will have to be content with roles on the bench at Valladolid.