REAL MADRID-VILLARREAL

Real Madrid potential XI for crunch Villarreal LaLiga clash

The LaLiga title race is to be decided on Saturday, with Real Madrid in need of a win over Villarreal and a slip-up from leaders Atlético Madrid.

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Real Madrid potential XI for crunch Villarreal LaLiga clash

The LaLiga title will be at stake for Real Madrid when they face Villarreal on Saturday (12 pm EDT). Los Blancos’ fate isn’t in their own hands, however.

Real Madrid must win and hope for Atleti slip-up

If Zinedine Zidane’s men are to win a second straight Spanish championship, they must beat the Submarino Amarillo at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano and hope that league leaders Atlético Madrid, who have a two-point advantage at the top, fail to beat Real Valladolid.

Zidane set to name unchanged side for Villarreal clash

Zidane is expected to name the same XI that started last weekend’s 1-0 win away to Athletic Club: a young side in which Fede Valverde again deputises for Toni Kroos, who is out with covid-19, and Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo Goes accompany Karim Benzema in attack.

Having recovered from injury, Sergio Ramos and Raphäel Varane are set to start on the bench in what could be both players’ final Real Madrid game. In addition to Kroos, Madrid also have Lucas Vázquez, Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy and Eden Hazard in the Bernabéu sick bay.

Real Madrid's expected XI against Villarreal

Thibaut Courtois will start in goal (if he features for the full 90, the Belgian will have played every single minute of the LaLiga season), while the defence will be marshalled by Éder Militão and Nacho Fernández, Madrid’s two most consistent centre-backs this term. At full-back will be Alvaro Odriozola and Miguel Gutiérrez, the latter making his third consecutive start.

With Kroos unavailable, Casemiro and Luka Modric will be joined in the midfield by Valverde. Casemiro and Modric have been two of Zidane’s most-used players this season. And up top, the two young Brazilians Vinícius and Rodrygo are in line to partner Benzema, having established themselves in the side ahead of Marco Asensio and Hazard in recent weeks.

Real Madrid’s XI against Villarreal is set to be: Courtois; Odriozola, Militão, Nacho, Miguel Gutiérrez; Casemiro, Modric, Valverde; Rodrygo, Vinicius and Benzema.