REAL MADRID

Lopetegui's untouchables

Benzema, Ramos and Carvajal have played every minute this season with seven players starting in every game but not finishing, these are Lopetegui's untouchables.

Madrid
Lopetegui's untouchables

We are just three games into the season, but there have been enough games to have some insight into where Julen Lopetegui will look when he needs help on the bench and who he will rely on as his mainstays. Real Madrid have lost some depth with the departure of Ronaldo but he still has options. Of the first four games, seven players have started all of the games. But only three of them have played every minutes. Carvajal, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema; they are Lopetegui's untouchables so far.

Carvajal's back-up has been out injured so far this season. Alvaro Odriozola, who Real Madrid signed from Real Sociedad this season, missed the first coupld of weeks of the season and with no replacement, Carvajal didn't really have a choice other than to play all of the minutes available. Odriozola returns after the break and they are set to share time but with Carvajal in big games. The right-back took advantage of his time on the field too with a goal and an assist to start the season.

Ramos remains the reference point at the back. It appears as though Varane and Nacho will split minutes with Vallejo kept in case a replacement is needed. With the departure of Ronaldo, Ramos is the main penalty-taker too. He has scored three goals in four games. These are striker numbers.

Benzema's situation is most surprising. His position in the team and at the club were in doubt at the end of last season. Ronaldo's exit made it even more important for the French striker to score goals. He has answered the call with five in four games. The signing of Mariano gives him competition and he hasn't been given any minutes yet but that is set to change after the break.

The others who have been used most are Kroos (372 ', 95%), Bale (369', 95%), Marcelo (360 ', 92%) and Asensio (315 ', 81%).