REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: James out but Zidane hands Brahim a chance

Marcelo, Eden Hazard, Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio remain out with injuries while Álvaro Odriozola and Mariano are omitted again.

Real Madrid: James out but Zidane hands Brahim a chance
Rodrigo Jiménez EFE

Zinedine Zidane has elected not to call James Rodríguez into his Real Madrid squad for the visit of Athletic Bilbao on Sunday after the Colombia midfielder returned to full training this week but the Frenchman has included Brahim Díaz for just the fourth time this season, giving the 20-year-old former Manchester City attacking midfielder the opportunity to stake his claim to remain at the Bernabéu beyond January.

Two players who seemingly have absolutely no future as long as Zidane remains at the helm are Mariano and Álvaro Odriozola, both of whom have been omitted despite being fit. The striker has not played a competitive minute this season and has only made the bench once while the right back has dropped down the pecking order with the return to action of Zidane’s favourite utility man, Nacho, who will provide cover for Dani Carvajal or Benjamin Mendy if required against Athletic.

Marcelo, Eden Hazard, Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio remain out with injuries so Zidane’s squad is largely unchanged from the 0-0 draw in Camp Nou during midweek, with only Casemiro missing after he picked up a fifth yellow against Barça forcing him to serve a one-match suspension on Sunday.

Real Madrid squad for Athletic Bilbao:

Keepers: Courtois, Areola, Altube.

Defenders: Carvajal, Militão, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Mendy.

Centrocampistas: Kroos, Modric, Valverde, Brahim, Isco.

Delanteros: Benzema, Bale, Jovic, Vinicius, Rodrygo.