How Real Madrid Will Line Up Against Barcelona

Dan ColasimoneContributor IApril 15, 2014

Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria, center, celebrates his goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match against Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki

It's Clasico time again.

This time around, Barcelona and Real Madrid are facing off in the final of the Copa del Rey at the Mestalla. 

It seems an age since Barcelona put Real to the sword in a dramatic league outing at the Santiago Bernabeu which finished 4-3 to the Catalans, but in reality, it was less than a month ago.

Madrid have since climbed above their rivals into second place on the league table as Gerardo Martino's men stumbled in La Liga and fell out of the Champions League.

The capital club will be quietly confident, then, that they can add to Barcelona's recent woes by pipping them to a coveted piece of silverware on Wednesday.

The most pressing question mark surrounding Real Madrid's lineup, and indeed the match in general, is whether Los Blancos' talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit enough to play.

The Portuguese powerhouse has missed Real's last two matches with a thigh injury and will race the clock to be ready for the final of the Copa.

Andres Kudacki

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti told El Mundo, as per Soccerway, that his team were good enough to win the trophy even if their star man doesn't make it onto the pitch:

Cristiano is always missed but the players aren't saying, 'Oh my God, what will we do without him?'

They have shown confidence and they know how to win without him.

It is also a very good opportunity for someone to take centre stage in a final.

Argentine ace Angel di Maria stepped into the Ronaldo role against Almeria on Saturday and relished the responsibility of leading the attack.

The big-eared skinny man pounded the Almeria goal with stinging shots and claimed the first goal of the evening in his team's 4-0 win.

He started the game on the left of a midfield three but soon swapped positions with Isco to join the attacking trident, and it was from there that he did the most damage.

Ancelotti will not be able to call on Marcelo, either, or a host of players with longer-term injuries in Jese, Alvaro Arbeloa and Sami Khedira.

Both Xabi Alonso and Dani Carvajal will be available for selection after missing the Almeria game through suspension.

The Spain midfielder's return means that either Asier Illarramendi or Isco could miss out, with the former most likely to earn a start due to his superior defensive qualities. 

All three players are likely to get a run, at any rate, as Alonso has looked particularly fatigued in recent outings and may not last 90 minutes, even after an enforced one-match break. 

Legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas has been predominantly used in cup clashes and is likely to be the man entrusted between the sticks for the final.

So, assuming that Cristiano won't recover in time, and that Illarramendi and Alonso will take the two midfield starting spots ahead of Isco, here's how Ancelotti's 4-3-3 will look:

Possible Real Madrid Starting 11: Casillas, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao, Modric, Alonso, Illarramendi, Bale, Benzema, di Maria.