Real Madrid have named their 19-man squad for the crunch showdown with rivals Barcelona in El Clasico on Wednesday night.
The two Spanish giants remain locked level on 35 points at the top of the La Liga table after 16 games, and so this could potentially be a decisive encounter to split them in what could be a thrilling title battle moving forward.
With that in mind, Zinedine Zidane would have been desperate to have as close to a fully-fit squad as possible at his disposal, but unfortunately for him and Los Blancos, they will be missing a string of players due to injury including a key trio.
As noted by Marca, James Rodriguez, Marcelo and Eden Hazard are all ruled out with injury problems, joining Marcos Asensio and Lucas Vazquez on the sidelines for this encounter.
Meanwhile, Zidane has opted to leave Alvaro Odriozola, Brahim Diaz and Mariano Diaz out of his squad, although there is better news with Ferland Mendy returning after serving his suspension last time out.
While the likes of Marcelo, Rodriguez and Hazard haven’t been in top form on a consistent basis so far this season, the leadership, experience and quality that they bring to the team will no doubt be missed, especially in a game like this where key moments and individual class could make all the difference.
However, Zidane will not be able to call upon them to secure a positive result in midweek, and so it remains to be seen who comes out on top in what should be a thrilling encounter.
As seen in the club’s tweet below though, Real Madrid still have a world-class squad available, with the likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric all hoping to be heavily involved in helping them secure what could be three crucial points.
— Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) December 17, 2019