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.

Zidane eyeing Croatia warily as Casemiro won't be fit for derby

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.

Midfield reshuffle

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.


Table PTS W D L
1Real Madrid 27 8 3 0
2Barcelona 25 8 1 2
3Villarreal 22 6 4 1
Full standing
Next matches
Atlético - Real Madrid S-19/11 20:45
Real Madrid - Sporting S-26/11 16:15
Barcelona - Real Madrid S-03/12 16:15


  • Messi8Goals
  • Kroos806Passes
  • Illarramendi125Steals

*Update 9 de noviembre de 2016