Follow the coverage match: Valencia vs. Real Madrid
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has announced his squad of 19 players for the LaLiga match this Wednesday in the Mestalla against Valencia (18:45 CET). The game is actually matchday 16 of the tournament, having been postponed from December 18, with Real Madrid on Club World Cup duty.
Zidane leaves out Asensio for Valencia match
Marco Asensio is once again missing from the squad, with French coach Zidane having lost confidence in him over the past month. It's the third time in four games that the striker has been left out (having not been called up for the games against Napoli and Osasuna).
Bale in the squad
Gareth Bale, who played (coming on as a sub for 11 minutes) and scored against Espanyol on Saturday as he came back from three months out injured, is in the squad, despite some thinking it would be too soon for him to possibly play two games on the trot.
Pepe misses out against Valencia too
The other big name not included on the squad list is that of Pepe. The Portuguese central defender started against Espanyol on Saturday but won't be playing against Valencia. It's known the player is considering a move to China in the summer, when he's out of contract, and he can now sign a pre-contract with another team. Pepe had wanted a new two year deal with Real Madrid, but so far the Spanish giants have only offered a one year renewal.
However Zidane had kind words for the Portuguese player in his press conference, saying: "He's an effective player and he does the business when he plays. That's what I'm interested in. His contract is nothing to do with me. He'll be part of my plans till the end".
That said, Zidane did offer a clue as to the choices he was being forced to make: "I've got eight great defenders and sometimes I have to leave some out..." This time, it's Pepe's turn.
Real Madrid squad for LaLiga match against Valencia
Keylor, Casilla, Yáñez, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Isco, Cristiano, Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vázquez and Morata.