Zidane will have a defensive conundrum to resolve when Real Madrid travel to Galicia to face Deportivo La Coruña on Wednesday evening.
Ramos' red leaves defence light
Sergio Ramos’ red card has combined with injuries to Pepe and Varane, to leave Nacho as the only available centre half at Zidane’s disposal. Varane returned to training on Monday following a hamstring injury, but it is unlikely that he will be fit in time for the match at the Riazor.
The French coach will have to field an improvised defence in a crucial match. Real Madrid have six games remaining in La Liga and, if Barça win all of their matches, Real can only afford to draw one.
Nacho last man standing
Circumstances have conspired to leave Nacho, Real Madrid’s fourth-choice centre half, as the only one Zidane can count on as the La Liga title races simmers.
Pepe broke two ribs during the 1-1 draw between Real Madrid and Atlético, and it is improbable that he will return to action this season. Varane, meanwhile, aggravated a hamstring injury during the match against Alavéz on the 4th of April.
Zidane's four options
With Ramos unavailable, Zidane has four options. The first is that he rushes Varane back in to action, despite his lack of match-sharpness, and the risk of exacerbating his injury. The second is that Casemiro shifts back in to the defence, while the third is that Danilo moves from right back to central defence.
Alternatively, Zidane could summon Tejero, or one of his Castilla colleagues, to step up to the first team. Yet with La Liga so finely poised, this latter option appears too risky.
Jesús Vallejo has returned to Real Madrid following a loan spell at Frankfurt, yet he will also be unavailable until next season. Then, it is thought, he will form part of Zinedine Zidane's first-team plans.