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How should Real Madrid line up against Barcelona?

Should Bale start?

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Real Madrid Training and Press Conference Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid have a healthy squad against Barcelona and that means that French coach Zinedine Zidane will have to make some decisions about his starting lineup. Is Bale healthy enough to start? Should Asensio start ahead of Isco? Can Benzema be benched?


This is a no-brainer for Zidane as Keylor Navas is the starting goalkeeper for Real Madrid at least until Los Blancos complete the signing of Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, according to reports from Spain. Kiko Casilla is a solid reserve but Navas has to be the one defending Madrid’s goal against Barcelona.


Carvajal and Ramos are back with the team after missing the last La Liga match against Sevilla. All things considered, no surprises should be expected in the team’s defensive line as Carvajal, Varane, Ramos and Marcelo will be the starting defenders taking care of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.


Here’s where it gets interesting. Casemiro, Modric and Kroos will surely start the game but Zinedine Zidane could decide to bench Isco and start Marco Asensio or Gareth Bale —if ready—. While Isco’s season has been outstanding, his performances have dropped a little over the last few weeks and Marco Asensio could be an interesting player to have on the field because of his speed with and without the ball. It seems that Isco will be starting, but Zidane could try something different.


Benzema and Ronaldo will be in the starting lineup. It’s true that Zidane has given Bale the chance to replace Benzema during the FIFA Club World Cup, but I don’t think the French coach is even considering a Bale-Ronaldo attacking line with Benzema sitting on the bench.


Date: 12/23/2017

Time: 13:00 CET, 07:00am EST, 04:00 am Pacific.

Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain.

Available TV: BeIN Sports (USA), Sky Sports Football (UK), Canal+ Partidazo (Spain).

Available Streaming: BeIN Sports (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream).

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