The objective of reaching the UEFA Champions League final has been achieved by Real Madrid. Before they can set their minds on that title, they must play the two remaining La Liga matches.
Valencia will visit the Santiago Bernabéu with nothing at stake, as they can’t qualify to Europe or be relegated. However, Real still hopes to win the league, so Los Ché won’t just give them an easy afternoon.
Preferred Formation: 4-3-3
Zinedine Zidane has shown what he learned as a player under Marcello Lippi and as an assistant manager with Carlo Ancelotti. Strong defending and good football when the squad has the ball are key to his philosophy.
He must work to keep his men focused on the current competition, as it’s not dead and gone. The time for preparing the Milan final will come, but not now.
GK: Kiko Casilla
In the final minutes of the Manchester City clash, Keylor Navas had to sprint out of the box to defend a dangerous ball. He developed a slight problem during it, but was able to continue the game. He will be saved in order to prevent something worse.
Dani Carvajal is going strong in the race for starting the UCL final. Danilo has proved to be a good rotation player. Still, he might work harder to impress his coach and make the choice more difficult when the time comes.
CB: Raphaël Varane
Pepe and Sergio Ramos have improved their form in the past weeks, becoming a very solid pair. However, the Portuguese’s age makes him a more delicate man. Like Danilo, this is a chance for Varane to create a blessing in the form of a doubt.
CB: Sergio Ramos
What we saw Wednesday is what is expected of the captain: leadership, intensity and solid defending. He needs to show this in the next two games while the titles hopes are still alive for Los Blancos.
While Álvaro Arbeloa is expected to say goodbye to the Bernabéu this weekend, the Brazilian is a better fit. If the match gets solved early, he may have a chance to play a couple of minutes and bid farewell to the crowd.
RCM: James Rodríguez
Coming in for Isco in the second half made clear the Colombian isn’t performing at a good level. He wasn’t able to influence the match with his football. It’s a toss up between him and Kovačić for this spot.
His absence on the second leg had people worried. Nevertheless, Toni Kroos took absolute control of Casemiro’s role with an excellent performance. The Brazilian will return to the lineup to get him back in playing form.
His departure from Wednesday’s game came as a bit of a surprise. He was being one of the best players on the field up until that moment. He’s expected to play if the coach decides it’s right to rest Modrić and Kroos.
RW: Lucas Vázquez
He usually comes in to refresh the BBC or bring something different to a match. He’s shown in the past he can not only be important as an assister, but can also score goals if gets the chance.
ST: Jesé Rodríguez
Just like Lucas Vázquez, he has become one of the first substitute choices for Zizou. Since Gareth Bale will be out for a minor injury, Jesé will return to the attack. His position may vary, as Ronaldo could be in the center instead.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
He may not have scored against City, yet it’s understandable because he was getting out of an injury. These next two games will be great for him to get his animal instinct fine tuned for the Atlético final.