Predicted XI

Hazard to make first start since November – How Real Madrid could line-up against Celta

Real Madrid can go top the top of La Liga if they win against Celta - but they will have to do so without injured captain Sergio Ramos.

10:36am on Saturday 2nd January 2021
Robin Bairner

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is set to hand Eden Hazard his first start since November as he aims to get his side back on track against Celta on Saturday.

Madrid wrapped up their 2020 schedule on Wednesday against Elche but were only able to secure a 1-1 draw, despite taking the lead midway through the first half through Luka Modric.

It is a result that leaves them two points off the pace of league leaders Atletico Madrid, who have played two games fewer.

Los Blancos, however, will go top of the standings if they overcome Celta, with Atleti not in action until Sunday, when they go to Alaves. It is a result Zidane’s side need to exert pressure onto their rivals.

With that in mind, he is set to hand Belgium international Hazard his first start since he was withdrawn in the first half in a clash against Alaves at the end of November.

Since then, Hazard has missed six games, not including the 2-0 win over Granada he watched from the bench. He returned with a cameo against Elche last time out and Zidane feels confident to start him in this clash. Lucas Vazquez will be the player to drop out.

While the midfield three are expected to stay untouched, there will be two changes in the defence.

Most notable of these is captain Sergio Ramos dropping out because of stomach problems. Nacho will take his place alongside Raphael Varane. Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy will replace Marcelo at left-back, with the veteran Brazil star dropping to the bench.

Celta are a side in form, having won four of their last five matches to climb to eighth in the standings. Iago Aspas is their player to watch as he is the Primera Division’s top scorer on nine goals, one clear of Madrid’s Karim Benzema.

Real Madrid v Celta: Predicted XI

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