Real Betis winger Joaquin says the loss of Luka Modric will be Real Madrid’s biggest problem when they travel to the Benito Villamarin on Saturday.
Zinedine Zidane’s side surrendered top spot in LaLiga to Atletico Madrid prior to the international break after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Eibar, and their hopes of a first win since September 18 have been damaged by a number of injury problems.
Casemiro is unlikely to return for a number of weeks due to a leg fracture, while James Rodriguez is out with a calf injury and captain Sergio Ramos picked up knee ligament damage during the international break.
But Joaquin believes that the absence of Modric due to a knee problem could be the biggest loss for the visitors, telling Movistar Plus: “Sergio is the captain, the boss of the defence, he’s a great footballer. Modric brings some feeling to the game and Casemiro is everywhere.
“Modric, for the class of player he is and given the moment he was going through – I think he’s the player Madrid miss the most. But regardless of missing those three, Madrid have a Champions League-quality squad.
“Madrid are always Madrid, irrespective of the absences they have. For us, it’s a great game that the fans want to watch and the players want to play in.
“We hope to be at the level of other meetings, with a strong team that can get the points.”
Joaquin admits that Madrid’s relatively poor run of form makes now a good time to face them, though he has warned that Betis must not place too much emphasis on the visitors’ slump.
“Given a choice, it’s much better for them to come in a moment like this, where they’re not getting victories and they’ve got some big names out,” said the 35-year-old. “Of course that’s better.
“But we can’t give that too much importance because Madrid have a really high-level squad.”