Real Madrid Christmas run-in with Atlético, Club World Cup, Clásico
A first Madrid derby at the Wanda Metropolitano, a Clásico at the Bernabéu and the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi is just part of the challange that faces Zidane and co.
Real Madrid's schedule between this final international break of 2017 and the next enforced rest, at Christmas, will see the reigning champions stay very active. With 10 games in 36 days, nine at the rate of one every three days, and plenty of serious challenges within the pre-holiday collection, it's going to be an interesting ride.
Madrid derby and El Clásico spice up Christmas run-in
In LaLiga, the calendar dictates that Madrid must first face Atlético on November 18 for the first ever derbi in the Estadio Metropolitano Wanda. Some key injuries have already been confirmed, other doubts still remain for both sides. Next up for Los Blancos is a visit from the team currently propping up the Spanish league, Málaga (home), followed by Athletic (away), Sevilla (home) and then the first Clásico clash against Barcelona which will be at the Santiago Bernabéu on the 23 December. That's five matches of which three include rivals fighting at the top of the table, not to mention a traditonally tough fixture at San Mamés.
The Champions League group stage concludes for Zinedine Zidane's side with game against APOEL (a trip to Nicosia of over 3,000km) and the visit of Borussia Dortmund to Madrid. Normally the latter would go down as one of the biggest challenges however Los Blancos will be hoping that the final group game is nothing more than a fixture fulfilment, with qualification already assured.
World Club Cup commitments
The Copa del Rey provides some lower league opposition at this stage with the expected stroll against Fuenlabrada. There is then the small matter of the Club World Cup - a prize for again being the top dogs in Europe - which comes immediately before El Clásico. With games against the likes of Al-Jazeera, Auckland, Al-Hilal or Urawa in the semi-final and then a final probably facing South American champions Lanús or Gremio, it is likely to involve significant rotation of the squad players from Zidane. The greatest complication is more likely to be due to the location of the tournament; in Abu Dhabi, over 5,600km from the Spanish capital.
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