Real Madrid return to domestic duties on Monday night when they host Real Sociedad in La Liga.
Los Blancos secured a slender advantage in their last 16 Champions League tie with Atalanta last time out, eventually scoring in the 86th minute through Ferland Mendy having had a player advantage for more than an hour after Remo Freuler’s dismissal.
In Spain’s top flight, Real are only three points off current leaders Atletico Madrid, who play Villarreal on Sunday evening.
Zinedine Zidane’s squad is ravaged by injuries to a number of key players, but here’s the side he could go for.
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – Has won over more neutrals in recent seasons but had very little to do against Atalanta.
Lucas Vazquez (RB) – Isn’t a right back by trade but continues to carve out a career at Real as one of their versatile squad players. He’ll start again in defence in Dani Carvajal’s absence.
Nacho (CB) – Sergio Ramos’ injury problems have meant Nacho has had to step up in central defence. Has helped the La Liga champions keep four clean sheets in his last four appearances.
Raphael Varane (CB) – Stock seems to have fallen over the past few years, even though Real won the Spanish title last season and he’s still only 27.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – Was the match-winner in midweek and will likely start again here, unless Zidane opts for rotation and throws veteran Marcelo into the mix, though the Brazilian is recovering from a slight knock.
Casemiro (DM) – Has been brilliant in recent weeks, notably scoring the winner against Real Valladolid. Will miss the return leg against Atalanta through suspension, so won’t be dropped for La Liga duties.
Luka Modric (CM) – 35 years old and the Ballon d’Or winner is still rocking out in Madrid. Set up Mendy for the winner in midweek and has performed excellently in Real’s run of five wins in five games.
Toni Kroos (CM) – Completing this intimidating midfield trio is Kroos. The German has picked up a goal and two assists in his last three games.
Marco Asensio (RW) – Eden Hazard’s injury woes continue and he won’t feature against Sociedad, so Asensio should start on the right. The Spaniard’s stock has fallen due to injury after bursting onto the scene as a youngster, so a decent run would help.
Isco (CF) – Zidane has revealed Karim Benzema won’t be ready for Monday night, so Isco might be given another opportunity to lead the line. Will need a move away from Spain’s capital eventually to kickstart his career but for now remains a decent option.
Vinicius Junior (LW) – Big things are still expected of Vinicius, though he has come in for criticism for some below par outings. Needs to establish himself as a key Real player while their injury crisis continues.