REAL MADRID

Zidane keeping his left back close to his chest

The Real Madrid manager has not yet revealed who will fill in for Marcelo on Saturday, with Danilo and Nacho at the front of the queue.

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Zinedine Zidane has still not yet decided who will replace the injured Marcelo in the Real Madrid side to play Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. Danilo and Nacho are the only viable options but the Brazilian has the slight edge to make the starting 11 after filling in on that flank earlier in the season against Eibar and Getafe and even though he will have to play with pain-killing injections due to an ankle problem Zidane seems to be leaning towards the Brazilian. The Frenchman did start Danilo in the 1-1 draw against Betis at right back but the player was substituted in the second half for Dani Carvajal after a disappointing performance.

Under previous coach Rafa Benítez, Nacho was the preferred back-up to Marcelo. The cantera product scored the winning goal from left back against PSG in the Champions League. That may be useful in Nacho’s claim to the available spot, as Zidane will also need a replacement full back to cover for Marcelo’s absence in the match against Roma next week.

Marcelo is expected to be back for the derby against Atlético at the end of February.