Predicted Real Madrid XI v Real Sociedad: Defender unfit, midfielder to start despite transfer talk

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Real Madrid get their season back underway after the La Liga winter break when struggling Real Sociedad visit the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Los Blancos have some catching up to do in the second half of the campaign. Atletico Madrid and Barcelona are three points clear at the top of the table.

Madrid broke up for Christmas with a 10-2 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano. Will Rafael Benitez stick with the same side or make changes? Here, CaughtOffside predicts their lineup…

SEE MORE: Real Madrid v Real Sociedad preview: Benitez sweating over job as Los Blancos return from winter break

GK: Keylor Navas

The Costa Rican international has kept only one clean sheet in his last eight La Liga games.

RB: Danilo

Must maintain his good recent form to keep the soon-to-be fit Dani Carvajal out of the team.

CB: Pepe

As reports, Raphael Varane returned to training this week, but he is not expected to be rushed back into action and therefore Pepe shall retain his place.

CB: Sergio Ramos

Scored in this fixture last season as Los Blancos recovered from conceding a first-minute goal to romp to a 4-1 victory. More of the same will do nicely.

Sergio Ramos Real Madrid

LB: Marcelo

Has started more La Liga games this term than any other Real Madrid defender (13).

CM: Toni Kroos

The German World Cup winner is one of the first names on this star-studded team-sheet.

CM: Luka Modric

The Croatian midfielder was the architect behind the thrashing of Rayo. BBC may have scored the goals, but Modric was at the centre of everything from midfield.

CM: James Rodriguez

Has been linked with a transfer to Manchester United by The Sun and is unhappy with life under Benitez,  according to the Daily Mail. But that shouldn’t stop him starting for now.

Gareth Bale Real Madrid

AMR: Gareth Bale

Fresh off the back of scoring four goals in a game for the first time, the Welshman should be full of confidence ahead of Sociedad’s visit to the capital.

AML: Cristiano Ronaldo

The Ballon d’Or holder scored 55 goals throughout an outstanding 2015 and will be hoping to see out the year with another handful. Odds on a hat-trick?

ST: Karim Benzema

Had a torrid first half of the season for one reason or another. Will be hopeful that his football can do the talking in the second half of the campaign.

Real Madrid lineup v Rayo

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More Stories Cristiano Ronaldo Dani Carvajal Danilo Gareth Bale James Rodriguez Karim Benzema Keylor Navas Luka Modric Marcelo Pepe Raphael Varane Sergio Ramos Toni Kroos