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Mundial de Clubes

REAL MADRID

Mendy ready to put pressure on much improved Marcelo

The French defender was a key target for Zinedine Zidane in the summer and may be one of the new faces on show at home to Valladolid.

Mendy, en la sesión del Bernabéu.

It was a less than revolutionised start to the season for Real Madrid. In their first official match of the season, away to Celta Vigo, there were none of the new faces in the starting eleven. Much had been made of the required summer rebuild but fans were going to have to wait to see the fruits of that recruitment labour, due to injuries across the squad.

Zidane's trickle down revolution

Despite the first team having a very familiar look about it, Luka Jovic did come on late in the game, a match that resulted in a decent performance from Los Blancos and a confidence boosting 1-3 victory. And over the coming days and weeks, manager Zinedine Zidane will finally be able to get his desired players into contention for a place in the starting XI.

Jovic and Vinicius train.

Jovic and Vinicius train.

The first of these looks to be the Serbian striker, who should be ready for Saturday's game against Valladolid. In saying that, he may, once again, have to make do with an entrance from the bench, but likely able to collect significantly more minutes under his belt. Another player expected to take to the field is Diego Militao and, with any luck, a fully recovered Ferland Mendy, who took part in training with the squad for the second consecutive day on Wednesday. Marcelo now has someone to really put the pressure on for that left-back role.

The Mendy-Marcelo battle

It was back on July 25, during the US preseason tour, that Madrid announced that the French full-back - a player specifically requested by Zidane - was injured. Almost a month later, he looks ready to make his LaLiga debut after minimal involvement to date. In the games he did feature, a half against Bayern Munich and as a starter against Arsenal he gave reasons to be positive.

On the Mendy | Ferland hoping to make his debut.

On the Mendy | Ferland hoping to make his debut.

After that he missed the matches against Atlético, Tottenham, Fenerbahçe, Salzburg, Roma, as well as the opener in Vigo. In front of a home crowd against Valladolid he could get his chance to show what he can bring to the team.

Marcelo had previously seen his seemingly untouchable place touched by young defender Sergio Reguilón last season. But with him gone - out on loan to Sevilla - and a solid performance from the Brazilian against Celta, there could be a healthy battle with Mendy to get the gaffer's nod.