Zinedine Zidane knows he is facing a key month with the games coming thick and fast and the opposition quite imposing and has decided to rotate his squad ahead of the game against Alavés at the Bernabéu on Sunday.
Zidane rotating ahead of key games
The Real Madrid boss has left out keeper Keylor Navas, captain Sergio Ramos, first choice left back Marcelo and James Rodríguez from his squad list of just 18 players for the visit of the Basque side. Casemiro is suspended and Fabio Coentrão also failed to make the squad. The main reasoning for Zidane’s decision is the distance covered by his Latin American internationals during the last international break.
On Ramos, Zidane has already announced in his pre-match press conference that the defender would sit this one out “because he has played a lot of games.” Navas’ exclusion will prove to more of a talking point: the Costa Rica keeper has been out of form in recent games and was booed by some sections of the Bernabéu during the victory over Betis two weeks ago when he made another error to gift the visitors a goal. Kiko Casilla will come in the first choice keeper after his last start against Espanyol on February 18.
Conmebol players given a day off
James and Marcelo have also been omitted as they returned later than other internationals and only have two and three training sessions under their belts since the Fifa fixtures. Marcelo is due a rest having played many games this season and will be held in reserve for the matches against Atlético and Bayern Munich. The Colombian’s case is distinct: despite shining for his country in the recent World Cup qualifiers there appears to be no place for James in Zidane’s plans.
Real Madrid squad for Alavés:
Keepers: Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Nacho and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Vázquez, Mariano and Morata.
Follow the coverage match of the week 29 of the Liga Santander between: Real Madrid-Alavés