Predicted XI

Hazard to start? How Real Madrid could line up against Atalanta

Zinedine Zidane's injury-ravaged team will have to be at their very best to get by a tricky Champions League opponent in Atalanta

10:34am on Monday 15th March 2021
Stefan Bienkowski

Real Madrid go into Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Atalanta fully aware of the consequences of getting knocked out by the Serie A outfit.

Not only will such a result simply add more pressure to Zinedine Zidane in the middle of a notably disappointing season, but it will also cut off the Spanish giants from their last, remaining cup competition.

To make matters worse, Los Blancos will be without a number of key players for this crucial tie.

In defence, Zidane should be able to call upon a strong list of established players to at least keep Atalanta out. In goals Thibaut Courtois should be in place, behind a back four of Ferlan Mendy, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Lucas Vazquez, who remains in the side in place of the injured Dani Carvajal.

The main issue for Madrid will come in the centre of the pitch, where Zidane will be without defensive midfielder Casemiro. The Madrid head coach is likely to turn to Federico Valverde, but will be hoping Toni Kroos and Luka Modric either side of him will be able to make up for the Brazilian’s absence.

Eden Hazard did make an appearance at the weekend, but this clash probably comes too soon for the Belgian to make a full start in the Champions League. Therefore, Zidane is likely to stick with Vinicius Junior on one wing and Marco Asensio on the other, with Karim Benzema as the team’s No.9.

Real Madrid predicted XI against Atalanta

Real Madrid - Football tactics and formations

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