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Celta v Real Madrid team news and starting XIs

All of the team news and injury updates for this evening's LaLiga game between Celta de Vigo and Real Madrid at Balaídos, kick-off at 17:00 CEST.

Celta v Real Madrid team news and starting XIs
Juan Carlos Hidalgo EFE

Real Madrid get their league campaign up and running away at Balaídos – traditionally one of the tougher venues in Spain for Los Blancos although it must be said, in recent years, the trend has favoured the visiting side. Nevertheless, Celta are sure to present a difficult examination for Zidane’s troops who worryingly, looked like a team without any clear identity during the pre-season. Much of the summer preparation was centred around a team consisting of the same XI that finished last season plus new signing Eden Hazard who misses this game after sustaining a thigh tear injury in yesterday’s session.

So it will be interesting to see how Zidane reshuffles his available players to form a starting XI. Vinicius or Gareth Bale would be the obvious choices to come in for Hazard – two players Zizou has his doubts about. Then there is recent arrival Luka Jovic whose pre-season was hampered by injury – his lack of minutes with the team reduces his chances of starting the game, Vinicius or Jovic look the best placed to partner Karim Benzema up front. James and Gareth Bale have made the trip in spite of being in Madrid’s bargain basement of players they want to offload before the 2 September transfer deadline.

Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas

In contrast, hosts Celta have been on the crest of a wave since escaping the drop last season. The Celtiñas have brought in new players who fit in closer to their style of play such as Pape Cheikh, Denis Suárez and Toro Fernández – the latter will hook up with Iago Aspas in a formidable Celeste attack. Aspas, who has finished the past three seasons as the top Spanish scorer in LaLiga, banged in 20 goals last season in spite of being sidelined for three months with a calf muscle injury.

The sold-out signs went up outside the Balaídos booking office on Thursday so a 29,000-strong crowd will be making it a noisy afternoon in Vigo with both teams hoping to collect their first points of the campaign.

Celta v Real Madrid possible line-ups

Celta XI: Rubén; Kevin, Aidoo, Costas, Olaza; Brais Méndez, Pape Cheikh, Lobotka, Denis; Aspas, Fernández.

Subs: Villar, Araujo, Beltrán, Sisto, Bermejo, Sáenz, Losada.

Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos; Modric, Isco; Jovic, Benzema.

Subs: Keylor, Militao, Nacho, Valverde, James, Bale, Vinicius, Lucas Vázquez.

Celta v Real Madrid: injuries and suspensions

Celta have five players out injured: David Juncà (shoulder), Sergio Álvarez (thigh), Hugo Mallo (thigh), Santi Mina (ankle) and Okay Yokuslu (knee ligament). Beauvue, Juan Hernández and Jozabed have been left out of the list for technical reasons.

As for Real Madrid, as we mentioned earlier Eden Hazard is out for the next month after it was confirmed yesterday that he has suffered a tear to his left thigh muscle. Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy are both sidelined with thigh injuries and Dani Carvajal sits this one out because he accumulated five bookings on the final day of last season and due to a bureaucratic mix-up between the RFEF and CSD he remains suspended. Marco Asensio continues his recovery from a ruptured ACL and meniscus tear.

Prediction: AS English has removed several layers of dust and another, unidentifiable substance from our mystical oracle which has been in storage since last season and some blurry, faint images have started to emerge… could that be Ramos and Aspas? Home win: 2-1 to Celta.