REAL MADRID

Zidane's attacking options down the wings

As LaLiga restarts after the Covid-19 stoppage the Real Madrid coach has to work out how to pick and choose from: Bale, Lucas Vázquez, Brahim, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Hazard and Asensio.

Zidane tiene que lidiar con un problema 'extremo'

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is facing what other coaches might call a nice problem to have, a total of seven players who operate out wide to choose from: Bale (30 years-old), Lucas Vázquez (28), Brahim (20), Vinicius (19), Rodrygo (19), Hazard (29) and Asensio (24).

With the recovery of the final two from injury Zidane should go into the restart of LaLiga after the shutdown for the coronavirus with seven attacking players down the flanks. The question is, who plays? When Zidane goes 4-3-3 he'll have five extra, and when he decides on a 4-4-2 only one will likely make it into the starting side.

Hazard should start for Real Madrid

The fact is Eden Hazard is likely to be the number-one pick for Zidane, meaning six behind him in the queue. Zidane has tried all of them, with the exception of Brahim, who has only played in the Copa del Rey, in the trip to Salamanca and in the Bernabéu against Real Sociedad.

Vinicius: growing in confidence

The case of Vinicius is a curious one: he struggled to win the confidence of the coach, but in his final games before Covid-19 swept across the world the Brazilian was beginning to show exactly what he was capable of. In the Clásico he was Real Madrid's best player and opened the way for Zidane's men's win, putting him in a solid position to fight for a place in the team. That said, it will be on the right hand side, where he struggles to show off his full range of skills.

Bale: things not looking promising

Bale's situation is not nearly as rosy. Zizou decided to give him another chance at the start of the season, but then left him out for the big nights against City (he played the final minutes) and Barcelona (Zidane went for Mariano at the end of the game as opposed to Bale). It seems Zidane's mind is made up this time.

Rodrygo: dropped out of contention

Rodrygo's position is not entirely clear, apart from the fact that along with Asensio, he isn't necessarily used out wide. He played in Istanbul, when Madrid had everything on the line in the Champions League, and repeated against the Turkish side at the Bernabéu, popping home a hat-trick. But since then his performances have dropped off and he was playing more in reserve side Castilla than the first team prior to the coronavirus.

Asensio: ready to make the most of the chance

Asensio appears to have benefited most from the way things have turned out. His contributions down the right can be spectacular, and Zidane could go for the front three he dreamt about in the summer before Asensio's misfortune. Asensio-Benzema-Hazard. Of course that will depend on how Asensio plays when competitive football starts back up in June. He knows he'll get a chance because Zidane appreciates both his talent and his unflinching commitment to the cause.