Real Madrid: Zidane's internal debate
Ahead of a testing week, with trips to Mestalla and the Camp Nou, the Madrid coach has some decisions to make over his final starting line-up.
In the space of four days, Real Madrid face two stern tests as they travel to Mestalla on Sunday, before making their way up to the Camp Nou to face Barcelona on Wednesday.
Zidane's starting XI
As things stand, Zidane has nine nailed-on starters in his first eleven: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy - who is suspended for the Valencia game - and Casemiro, Valverde, Kroos and Benzema. However, he still has two final decisions to make on two places in midfield and attack, with five players in the mix.
Competition between Isco and Modric
In midfield, Zidane will have to choose between Isco and Modric given that both have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks. Isco impressed in Madrid's 2-2 draw against PSG in the Champions League, while Modric resembled something like his old self against Eibar, in LaLiga, and Club Brugge, in the Champions League
Bale, Vinicius or Rodrygo
In attack, the idea has always been to keep Bale fresh and ready for El Clásico, but the recent form of Vinicius - absent in the corresponding fixture last season after a contentious decision by Lopetegui - and 18-year-old Rodrygo has cast doubt over the Welshman's automatic starting berth.
Zidane has been in buoyant mood over his side's biggest fixture of the season, "we'll be going into the Clásico in good shape", he said after the Club Brugge game. However, the two final pieces in his selection could be key to Madrid's fortunes in both games.
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