Zidane eyeing Croatia warily as Casemiro won't be fit for derby
Mateo Kovacic has reported for international duty with an ankle problem while the recently recovered Modric will play against Iceland.
Zinedine Zidane’s problems in midfield continue to pile up ahead of the Madrid derby at the Calderón on November 19. Casemiro, Real’s only pure defensive midfielder, has been out of action since fracturing a bone in his leg against Espanyol on September 18 and since then Real have conceded in 10 of the 11 games they have played.
The Brazilian is extremely unlikely to be fit in time to play against Atlético and has yet to resume full training as he continues his recovery.
Modric and Kovacic concerns
On the other hand, two more of Zidane’s midfielders are also nursing recent injuries. Luka Modric has just returned after a knee problem and came off the bench against Leganés last weekend but Croatia coach Ante Cacic has said he will call upon the player to feature for the full 90 minutes in the World Cup qualifier against Iceland on Saturday. Mateo Kovacic, who has been doing a sterling job in Real’s makeshift midfield in recent weeks, reported for international duty with an ankle problem and is doubtful for the game. Neither will be expected to play in a friendly against Northern Ireland next week.
Toni Kroos is also sidelined until the new year, leaving Zidane with a tactical headache ahead of the match against Atlético. The Real boss will be hoping that his two Croatia midfielders return unscathed from their international commitments.
*Update 9 de noviembre de 2016
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