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Depth, rotations crucial for Real Madrid’s Liga title bid

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Coach Zinedine Zidane will have to get the best out of his whole squad with a very busy schedule ahead.

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Antonio Villalba/Real Madrid via Getty Images

The 2019-2020 Liga season is set to restart on June 11th after a three-month stoppage due to the Coronavirus pandemic. La Liga CEO Javier Tebas wants to finish the season as soon as possible so that the kick-off for the 2020-2021 campaign doesn’t need to be delayed.

That will put a lot of pressure on the players, who will face a very busy schedule with three matches every week. Knowing that they have not been training properly for the last 90 days, Zinedine Zidane and his coaching staff will need to manage their minutes very carefully in order to keep them fresh and avoid as many injuries as possible.

Every single team have been using the last two weeks —and the following until the official start of the competition— as a mini training camp to improve the conditioning and form of their players, but will that time be enough?

La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation know that muscle injuries will be very likely during the first few weeks of the competition. That’s why they approved to use five substitutions during the games until the end of the 2019-2020 season. That rule will benefit big clubs like Barcelona or Real Madrid, who simply have more quality players capable of changing the course of the game.

Key reserves like Modric —assuming Valverde will start—, Rodrygo, Vinicius or Isco will be crucial for Real Madrid. Not only will they start and give the starters some rest, their presence off the bench could be huge late in the games.

Add Marco Asensio to the equation and Madrid’s depth becomes a crucial factor for this last stretch of the season. The talented attacker has spent all season recovering from the ACL injury he picked up last summer and is now training with the squad and ready to play. While it’s clear that he might need more time to regain confidence in his leg and some of his groove and touch of the ball, Asensio definitely has the chance and the potential to be a starter after the first one or two weeks have passed.

Smaller teams don’t have that kind of depth and their rotations will not be as reliable, so Real Madrid have no excuse and need to take care of business if they want to overcome their current two-point deficit against Barcelona, who will face two very tough games against Sevilla and Atletico de Madrid.

It’s very difficult to predict what will happen during the last 11 games given that this is a very unusual and unique scenario. However, it seems clear that Real Madrid have the tools to perhaps take advantage of this situation and have the edge over squads who are not as deep as Los Blancos.