Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has a selection dilemma on his hands as he will be without the services of four key first-team players.
Los Blancos will take on familiar foes in La Liga when they visit the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium to face Sevilla for the second time in three days. They almost had their 39-game unbeaten run snapped in the Copa del Rey, but Karim Benzema saved their blushes and Real Madrid now hold the Spanish record for being unbeaten for 40 straight games in all competitions.
The match on Thursday was a feisty affair that ended 3-3, and this game could prove to be more of the same.
Real Madrid, despite their injury concerns, go into this game as favourites. In his pre-match press conference, Zidane gave a positive update on the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo, stating that he is geared to play in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuanon on Sunday.
Despite the hostile reception received by defender Sergio Ramos, the Frenchman stated that the club veteran will not be dropped and is expected to be partnered by Raphael Varane at the heart of the defence.
On the down side for Madrid fans, they will see four key names sit out this intriguing top of the table encounter. The obvious omission is that of Gareth Bale, who is expected to be out for a couple of months as he recently underwent an ankle surgery.
As per the club’s official website, defender Pepe is unavailable as he is still recuperating from an injury, while Isco and James Rodriguez have trained alone this week, and have been omitted from the 19-man squad.
For the hosts, manager Jorge Sampaoli is set to welcome two key figures in Steven N’Zonzi and Franco Vazquez after they missed the match against Real Madrid in mid-week. It still remains uncertain whether or not they will be named in the starting eleven.
If Sevilla are to realistically establish their title credentials, this is in the perfect stage for them to prove it and end Real’s unbeaten run that has spanned for 40 games.