Marco Asensio and Antonio Rudiger will return when Real Madrid and Valencia lock horns at the Mestalla on Sunday.

Real Madrid will look to return to winning ways and end the 2022/23 season on a high when they face Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday night. And Carlo Ancelotti has a near-full-strength squad at his disposal ahead of his side’s latest fixture.

Eden Hazard is the only player missing from the travelling squad. Otherwise, every player has travelled to Valencia for Sunday’s game. But while Thibaut Courtois is fit and available, Ancelotti might not risk him for a dead rubber.

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The Belgian goalkeeper has been recovering from a knock this week and might not be at 100 per cent. One player who has recently regained fitness is Ferland Mendy. And Ancelotti discussed the Frenchman’s importance during his pre-match press conference.

He said, “He’s been a big miss for us because he showed his defensive solidity last season. It also meant we had to put Camavinga there, who could have brought us energy to the middle of the park. I hope he can stay injury-free because he’s an important player for us.”

Despite Ancelotti’s glowing praise, Mendy will unlikely start on Sunday. And David Alaba should feature as the left-back, with Antonio Rudiger returning in the centre. Rudiger will form the central defensive partnership with Eder Militao. Meanwhile, Andriy Lunin should replace Courtois, with Dani Carvajal starting on the right flank.

As for the midfield unit, Eduardo Camavinga will have the chance to reprise his preferred role. The French midfielder should join Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde in the middle of the park. So Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will drop to the bench for some rest.

Finally, the offensive department should see one change after Rodrygo’s poor performance against Manchester City. The Brazilian international will drop to the bench, with Marco Asensio starting in his stead. And Karim Benzema will spearhead the Real Madrid attack against Valencia, with Vinicius Junior featuring on the left flank.

Predicted Real Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Eder Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Valverde, Tchouameni, Camavinga; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.

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