Real Madrid travel north to take on Real Valladolid on Wednesday night in La Liga, knowing they must win to keep their chances of lifting the title alive come the end of the season.
Madrid have been dealt a couple of injury worries ahead of their crucial clash, the most significant of which is that Gareth Bale is set to miss out. The Welshman is struggling with his fitness, but it does not sound as though it is serious. Manager Carlo Ancelotti described it as “a knock,” via ESPN FC on Twitter:
Also unavailable to Ancelotti will be full-back Dani Carvajal and central defender Raphael Varane, who also have minor problems. However, on a brighter note for Los Meringues, Luka Modric has returned to fitness, and Wednesday night could see the return of Sami Khedira, per Real's official tweet:
The German midfielder has been out of action since November, when he tore ligaments in his knee. A return to action could be just in time to prove his fitness ahead of the Champions League final. Ancelotti seemed confident of selecting Khedira when speaking to the media on Tuesday:
Crucially for Madrid, their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, will certainly be playing at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla.
Per Soccerway, Valladolid are going to be missing former Manchester United striker Manucho due to a knee injury, whilst combative midfielder Fausto Rossi is suspended for reaching his yellow-card limit; he has picked up 10 cautions this campaign.
Prediction: Real Valladolid 0-3 Real Madrid
It only takes a quick glance at the league table to see which team is likely to win this one. However, there are plenty of stats to back up the obvious assertion, including this one from WhoScored.com:
The ominous form of Cristiano Ronaldo will also be a significant worry for Valladolid:
Per AS (h/t Football Espana), Valladolid coach Juan Ignacio Martinez said:
There is nothing impossible in life. That’s why football is great and why it moves the masses.
[I won’t forfeit the game] because that would fail to respect the players, fans and myself.
We’re not coming to Madrid already done. We are going to compete nevermind the difficulty of what we face.
Whilst it is not an impossibility, it is distinctly improbable. This will be a stroll in the park for Madrid, who will win comfortably.
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