Real Madrid will welcome fourteenth placed Real Betis to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday in the Spanish La Liga.
Zinedine Zidane’s men will be high on confidence after an impressive week that saw them win against Eibar in the La Liga, followed by a triumph in the last-16 stages of the Champions League against Napoli. With Barcelona leading the title charge, Madrid will be keen to avoid any mishap at home and keep the pressure on their fierce rivals. The last time the Galacticos went up against Gus Poyet’s side, they emerged victorious by goals to one. Zidane will be hoping for a similar result come Sunday.
Madrid will be without the services of Raphael Varane, who is yet to recover from his hamstring problem, while Gareth Bale will serve his two-match suspension and will miss out. Other than that, there is a clean bill of health for the manager to select from.
Expected Real Madrid XI to face Real Betis
Keylor Navas (GK)
Has been under pressure due to some erroneous displays in recent weeks. But enjoys the trust of his manager and will start between the sticks.
Dani Carvajal (RB)
The Spaniard is a constant figure in the line-up for Madrid at right-back. One of their most consistent performers this season, he should feature from the kick-off.
With Raphael Varane still out due to injury, we expect Nacho to slot in at the back in place of Pepe. The veteran played two games this past week and could be rested.
Sergio Ramos (CB)
Alongside Nacho, it will be Sergio Ramos in the heart of the defence. The captain will have a big say on the proceedings against Betis on Sunday.
At left-back, it will the enterprising Marcelo. The Brazilian’s attacking runs down the left-flank will be crucial for Madrid.
At the base of the midfield, shielding the defence will be Marcelo’s compatriot Casemiro. His presence in the middle is of utmost importance for Madrid and is a sure starter.
Ahead of Casemiro, we might see Spanish international Isco come in for Luka Modric. The 25-year old has impressed in the handful opportunities he has received and last week, Zidane admitted that Isco deserves to play more.
Toni Kroos (CM)
Alongside Isco, it will be the calming influence of Toni Kroos. The composure and the control he brings to the Madrid midfield is absolutely vital for the team.
Lucas Vazquez (RW)
With Gareth Bale still unavailable due to suspension, Lucas Vazquez will be in for a start from the get-go on the right-flank against Betis.
Karim Benzema (ST)
Leading the line will be the misfiring Karim Benzema. The Frenchman has struggled for goals but continues to be picked ahead of Alvaro Morata. Expect it to stay the same on Sunday.
Cristiano Ronaldo (LW)
On the left-wing, it will be the Los Blancos’ talisman Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese missed the previous Liga fixture but will start this weekend.