Zidane will have to make do without almost half of his squad until 30 March when he will return to have all of his players at his disposal in Valdebebas. Real Madrid are one of the teams who will be most affected by this month's international fixtures: 16 madridistas will be joining up with their respective national teams for friendlies and 2018 World Cup Russia qualifiers. “They call it a break, but it isn't for everyone. Some players will be involved in crucial games with their national teams. I'll be able to rest but they won't. And when they return, we have nine games in 25 days...” Zidane said this weekend. The coach, and a whittled-down squad, will be back in Valdebebas for the first session of the week tomorrow.
Zidane, worried about players facing long, transatlantic trips
What concerns Zidane the most are the long-haul trips which four of his players, Keylor Navas, Marcelo, Casemiro and James will be making to be with their national sides. The keeper joins up with Costa Rica for games in Mexico and Honduras - a round trip of 22,200 kilometres. The Brazilians will fly out to Montevideo then meet Paraguay in São Paulo - 20,000 kilometres in total. James meanwhile, will be covering slightly less distance - 18,000 kilometres to be with Colombia who have a World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on 23 March, then take on Ecuador five days later in Quito.
Madrid tend to win immediately after an international break
Zidane will be heartened by the fact that Madrid have recorded victories on their return to the league after the last three international breaks: beating Osasuna 5-2 in Week 3, Betis 1-6 in Week 8 and Atlético 0-3 in Week 12. Madrid's next LaLiga game is against Alavés on 2 April (16:15 hours CEST).
- Roque Mesa1007PASSES
*Update at 20 de marzo de 2017