REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: Zidane has four options to fill left-back vacancy against Valencia

Marcelo y Mendy no estarán el próximo domingo en Mestalla. Nacho, Carvajal, Militao y Fran García son las soluciones que tiene el técnico.

The left-back position has been an issue at Real Madrid this season. The club spent 48 million euros (plus another five in add-ons) over the summer reinforcing the position by bringing in Ferland Mendy yet Zidane has been forced to improvise to fill the slot twice. At the end of September he was left without a natural left-back and now he is faced with the same problem for Sunday's trip to Valencia. Mendy is suspended after being sent off against Espanyol and Marcelo is out injured.

Madrid without a natural left-back against Valencia

The Madrid coach has four options to fill the left-back slot at Mestalla. The preferred solution as far as Zizou is concerned is moving Nacho over to the left, as he did earlier this season in the games against Osasuna, Atlético and Brugge. There is just one snag – Nacho has been out of action since 1 October with a knee ligament sprain. He’s recovered but not match-fit. Zidane could give him a run-out in Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Brugge to see how he gets on before making a decision.

Another idea would be to put Dani Carvajal at left-back. It was an experiment that worked against Granada in Week 8. The only drawback with that would be that Odriozola – who has featured since he was sent off at Son Moix, would have to return to fill in at right-back. The Basque full-back isn’t a regular starter for Zidane...

Bale no an option at left-back

There is no way Gareth Bale could be moved back into his old position - Zidane has publicly stated it’s not something he even considers so the third solution is Militão. "He has played at left-back, it’s a possibility", Zizou admitted when he as faced with the same problem back in September. Yesterday however, he told reporters that he will have a think about it this week.

Bringing in a left-back from the reserves

The last option – and perhaps the least likely, is to bring in a player from Real Madrid Castilla. Fran García, one of the most promising players in the youth academy, could be a possibility. The French defender has trained with the first team squad (twice last week) and he has made his senior debut (last season against Melilla in the Copa del Rey) but it would only be a last resort to field him from the start at Mestalla, although he could make the squad list as a back-up...