Real Madrid will look to seal their finals of the UEFA Champions League when they take on Atlectio Madrid in the second leg of the semi-finals at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night.
The Los Galaticos come into the game in a very strong position, having thrashed Atletico 3-0 in the first leg – thanks to hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo – at the Santiago Bernabeu last week. Zinedine Zidane’s side remain favorites to go through to the finals making it their third in four seasons if they manager to qualify. Huge confidence will be in place having defeated Granada 4-0 over the weekend, and that too with a second-string side.
As far as their team news in concerned, it’s worthy to note that defender Pepe has returned to training, but still a doubt to take part in the competition. Gareth Bale remains unavailable, while full-back Dani Carvajal has been ruled out for the season. The French manager is expected to field back all the stars who were rested in his side weekend’s game at home against Granada
Players predicted to start includes:
Keylor Navas (GK)
The Costa Rican man was also part of the men rested while Kiko Casilla was between the sticks last weekend. He will return to action when the take on Diego Simeone’s side.
With Dani Carvajal ruled out for the season, Danilo will be the void place at the right-back but still remains to be seen if he nor Nacho would be the one starting against Atletico. But given Danilo’s impressive display on Saturday, I see no reason why Zidane should keep him on bench over Nacho.
Raphael Varane (CB)
The French defender made his return to the team against Atletico even went far to almost scoring a goal. After being benched for Real’s weekend game, Varane will be reinstated to starting XI.
Sergio Ramos (CB)
The captain was one of the two players to have featured in both games last week. Ramos will want to put in a commanding performance and lead his team into the finals.
The Brazilian left-back has been Real’s one of the best players for Real Madrid over the course of the season and arguably the best left-back in Europe. Marcelo should return to the line-up in place of Fabio Coentrao after being rested on Saturday.
Luka Modric (CM)
Modric has been Real Madrid’s breathing heart in the midfield, the former Tottenham man is priceless to Zidane’s plans. He should come and replace Mateo Kovacic.
Another player to have played the two games last week, Casemiro is an integral part in the middle flank. Another start is on the cards against Atletico.
Toni Kroos (CM)
The German international will return to the starting XI after having been benched against Granada, in place of Saturday’s exemplary performer James Rodriguez.
Had a cameo against Granada over the weekend. Expect him to start on the right-flank at the Vicente Calderon.
Karim Benzema (ST)
His goal-scoring woes seem never ending, but the Frenchman enjoys the backing of his manager. He will return to the playing XI ahead of Alvaro Morata, despite the Spaniard’s excellent form.
Cristiano Ronaldo (LW)
The hat-trick hero in the first leg, Cristiano Ronaldo will look to pick things up from where he left last Tuesday against Simeone’s men.