Real Madrid are 90 minutes away from making history. Los Merengues enter the UEFA Champions League final against Juventus as favourites, and with good reason. Zinedine Zidane’s men have been nearly unstoppable at the European level, and will have the chance to crown an impressive season winning the biggest club competition in the world. Juventus will be a tough opponent, but Real Madrid have one of the most talented squads in the world. And all signs indicate they will have their Best XI available for the game on Cardiff this Saturday.
Real Madrid will be at full strength because they do not have injured players ahead of this pivotal clash, but Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal remain doubtful due to injury. According to several reports, both players will require a late-fitness test to determine their availability. The Spanish right back is expected to start, but the Welsh winger may begin the game on the bench.
With that in mind, the SoccerNews team has prepared a predicted line-up and formation Real Madrid are expected to field this Wednesday.
Zidane is not going to change the defensive line that carried the team through these stages. As such, Keylor Navas will stand between the posts with a four-men defensive line in front of him. The Costa Rican has been heavily criticised during the entire campaign, but his recent form has been quite good. And there is no question he has enough experience to perform at a decent level in this stage.
In front of Navas, the defensive line will likely feature Dani Carvajal and Marcelo on the right and left flanks, respectively. Carvajal has been nursing an injury, but recent reports have indicated he will be available for this one. Sergio Ramos and Raphäel Varane will play at centre backs, as it has been the trend every time both players have been fit. It is worth noting that Pepe has an outside chance to start at centre back as well.
One of the main strengths of Real Madrid this season has been the play of their midfield. And considering the status of Saturday’s match, we can bet Zidane will use his best elements available in the middle of the pitch. This means Los Merengues will deploy a defensive midfielder and two central midfielders a few meters ahead of the former, but this could quickly change into one CM and two attacking midfielders in case Real needs to play higher on the pitch.
Casemiro – who has been one of the team’s best players in the UEFA Champions League – will operate more defensively, while Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will stand in front of him. The duo of Kroos and Modric will be especially tough to contain for Juventus, because both are among the most talented playmakers in the world, and can’t have an inch of space in the final third. If they do, then Juventus’ defensive line will be in for a long night.
The attacking line will feature three players, although it would not be strange to see tactical movements as the game progresses. Considering Gareth Bale might not start since he’s recovering from injury, Zidane would deploy Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema upfront. The Portuguese star will play on the left and Isco will move down the right flank, while Benzema will roam between the opposing defenders.
However, Isco has the tendency to drop a few meters and slot as an attacking midfielder. In that scenario, Ronaldo would operate as a second striker and Isco will link up often with Modric and Kroos. It would remove a bit of width, but at the same time it would increase Real’s possession in the final third.
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