Zinedine Zidane's options to cover for Toni Kroos at Real
The Germany international's broken foot leaves the Real boss with a fresh headache as he prepares for games against Atlético and Barcelona.
Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos will be out of action until 2017 after breaking a bone in his right foot during the match against Leganés last weekend. As a result, Zinedine Zidane will be forced into another restructuring of his side with players that are not regular first-teamers, or by moving others into unfamiliar positions.
Casemiro is the obvious option, the Brazilian being the first choice to play in the holding role that Kroos has been occupying in his absence. However, the defensive midfielder is on the sidelines himself with a fractured bone in his leg and is highly likely to miss the Madrid derby against Atlético in two weeks’ time. When he recovers he will be straight back in the side and Zidane will be hopeful of having him available for the Clásico at Camp Nou on December 3.
Isco or James
In the meantime, or when Casemiro is handed a rest or if Luka Modric has another setback, Zidane will have to decide between the Spaniard and the Colombian to fill in. Both players would have to drop back a little from their customary positions, something they have done on occasion before. They would be further back from the opposition goal and charged with helping Modric to dictate attacking play. The inclusion of either would lend Real extra potency in attack, although the side would lose some its efficiency in winning back possession in midfield. Both Isco and James have featured more often from the bench this season and have been waiting for an opportunity for a run in the side.
The inclusion of the Croatia international in place of Kroos would be a more natural fit than Isco or James, but as the Spaniard and the Colombian are players who would normally expect to be handed more game time than Kovacic, there will be occasions when they take priority over the 22-year-old.
The final option, to put a defender in the holding role as has been tried before with Pepe and Sergio Ramos under previous managers, is likely to be discarded.
*Update 8 de noviembre de 2016
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