MADRID, Sporting Alert – Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has named his 19-man squad for the La Liga clash against Deportivo but there are Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema.
Manager Shows Confidence In Squad
Zidane, who is already without the injured Gareth Bale, has opted to leave out Ronaldo and Benzema for this clash – heading into the game with Alvaro Morata, Lucas Vazquez and Mariano as his only strikers.
The game on Saturday is the last La Liga game of the year and the star forwards have clearly been given a rest to prepare for the busy fixtures ahead.
Midfielder Luka Modric was also rested.
“[Benzema] was at the team’s disposal but we’re going to give him some rest,” Zidane said. “We have a lot of games and tomorrow we will rest him and other players.”
The French boss also revealed that Morata will return against Deportivo at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend.
“Tomorrow Morata’s going to play,” he said. “Every day he is better and he really wanted to play. He’s training very well.”
James Not Leaving Real Madrid – Zidane
Also included in the Real Madrid 19-man squad is midfielder Toni Kroos, as well as attacking playmaker James Rodriguez, who has been linked with a move away from the Spanish leaders in January.
It is still uncertain whether Rodriguez will play on Saturday, but Zidane is sure he won’t be leaving the Bernabeu in the next transfer window.
“James is not leaving here, I do not want him to,” his manager said. “We will have to wait until tomorrow to see if he is playing against Deportivo.”
Zidane admits that he’s expected a “difficult match” against Deportivo, despite the visitors struggling at 16th in the table standings.
He said the aim is to win the last league game of the year.
He said at his press conference: “It will be a difficult match and not only because of their last result.
“Maybe seeing Deportivo where they are in the table is a little strange, with what they are doing and the team that they’ve got.
“We know it will be a very difficult match. It is the last game of the year in the league and we will try to be well prepared and go into it well.”
Isco, Sergio Ramos, Pep, Marcelo, Raphael Varane and Mateo Kovacic are also named in the squad.
Real Madrid, who lead rivals Barcelona by six points in the La Liga standings, haven’t lost in 34 consecutive matches, which equaling a club record.
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REAL MADRID SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Morata, Lucas Vázquez and Mariano.