Real Madrid

Vinicius on bench as Zidane shuffles Madrid pack

After his long spell on the sidelines, the young Brazilian returns to the first team matchday squad against Villarreal, with fans expectant.

Vinicius on bench as Zidane shuffles Madrid pack

Zinedine Zidane named Vinicius Jr among his substitutes for Sunday's visit of Villarreal in matchday 36 of LaLiga Santander. The game kicks off at 16:15 CEST at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Vinicius is back for Madrid

As well as the return of the exciting young Brazilian, whose performances earlier in the season were some of the isolated bright spots of an otherwise disappointing campaign, the French coach also turned to some fringe players to see what they can offer from the start.

Plans are already being made to reinvigorate the squad for 2019/20 and playing time will be used in the final games to confirm their value in a white shirt going forward, or to show their selling on value for any summer suitors. Mariano gets a chance to shine in Benzema's absence, while there is also a place for Brahim. it's notable that the starting XI only has 11 league goals in total.

Ahead of the game, the players will come out onto the pitch wearing t-shirts with a message of support for Iker Casillas. The legendary Real Madrid goalkeeper suffered a heart attack while training with Porto last week. The t-shirts read: 'Iker, todos contigo', everyone is with you.

Villarreal arrive still at risk of relegation although that prospect looks rather unlikely.