Real Madrid’s deteriorating title challenge will be put to the test as they host Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
After last week’s disappointing goalless draw against Athletic Bilbao, Zidane and his men will have to ensure the gap to Barcelona doesn’t widen after only two wins in their last five in La Liga.
Eight points off leaders, Barcelona, the Galactico’s see Cristiano Ronaldo take the field having become the first Portuguese player in history of the Champions League to score in all six-group games before he collected his fifth Ballon D’or in Paris on Friday, equalling rival Lionel Messi.
Enduring a difficult La Liga campaign, Real’s team depth will surely be assessed against the Los Rojiblancos with the Madrid club heading to the United Arab Emirates in midweek to compete in the Club World Cup.
Sevilla secured a spot into the last 16 with a 1-1 draw against Maribor on Tuesday and can now turn their attention to the league where they are unbeaten in their last three.
The Andalusian side currently sit fifth in the table, behind Real although level on 28 points. Eduardo Berizzo, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, has his side fancying their chances of making a strong challenge after last beating Real Madrid 2-0 in January and will be hoping to pick up a positive result again.
Captain and former Sevilla defender Sergio Ramos, fellow defender Dani Carvajal and defensive midfielder Casemiro are all suspended for Saturday’s visit of Sevilla, while Raphael Varane remains a doubt. The French defender limped off during Wednesday’s Champions League win against Borrusia Dortmund.
Gareth Bale’s fitness is again at the centre of Zidane’s agenda however is not likely to be risked with the game at the Bernabeu coming too early for the Welsh international.
As for Sevilla, a quartet of players should all return to the side after being rested for the clash against Maribor. German international, Johannes Geis, Nolito, Franco Vazquez and David Soria are all pushing to return to the side whilst Stephen N’zonzi continues to be left out.