Sports Monks

La Liga 2018-19: Predicted Real Madrid XI vs Getafe

The 2018-19 LaLiga season is set to get underway and the most successful side in the tournament with 33 titles, Real Madrid will get their campaign underway on Sunday (August 19) when they host local rivals Getafe at the Bernabeu.

Manager Julen Lopetegui sans Cristiano Ronaldo will look to start the tournament with his first win a Real Madrid manager. Barring defender Jesus Vallejo, there are no injury concerns for the hosts and all the players are available for selection.

 

Let us take a look at how Real Madrid could line up for their LaLiga season opener.

Goalkeeper – Keylor Navas

Real Madrid strengthened their goalkeeping department in the summer by signing Ukraine teenager Andriy Lunin and Belgium's Thibaut Courtois without selling the three keepers in the squad, Keylor Navas, Kiko Casilla and Luca Zidane.

It will come down to Navas and Courtois for the first-choice and in all likelihood, Courtois, who was voted as the goalkeeper of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, will pip the Costa Rica international to guard the goal for Real Madrid.

Courtois is yet to make his Real Madrid debut and did not take part in the pre-season as well. It will be very difficult for him to get his A-game right from the word go. So, it won't be surprising if Navas gets the nod ahead of Real Madrid's new signing for the 2018-19 LaLiga season opener.

Defenders – Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho and Marcelo

New signing Alvaro Odriozola injured himself in the team's pre-season tour and has just come back to training. It is not yet clear whether he will be part of the squad for the first game. Irrespective of that, Dani Carvajal will start the game as the right-back.

Skipper Sergio Ramos and his deputy Marcelo are certainties to start the game and the headache for Lopetegui will be Ramos' central defensive pair. Raphael Varane joined the squad late after winning the World Cup with France and didn't have a proper pre-season with the team. He looked tired in Real Madrid's UEFA Super Cup loss against Atletico Madrid and was at fault for two goals.

It will be a big gamble if Lopetegui starts Varane in the first game of the season, especially after he played for 120 minutes three days back in spite of looking tired. So, Varane might be asked to sit on the bench with back-up defender Nacho Fernandez getting the nod to partner Ramos at the back.

 

Midfielders – Casemiro, Kroos and Isco

Casemiro is very crucial for Real Madrid as the central defender has shown how his presence in front of the defence has helped the team on various occasions. He is likely to start the game along with Toni Kroos, who has looked sharp ever since joining the squad this season.

But, the third midfielder will be a concern for Los Blancos as Luka Modric, just like Raphael Varane, joined the squad late after the World Cup where he led his team Croatia to the final. Modric did not start in the Super Cup game mid-week but came on as a substitute around the 60th minute.

Modric, who is easily the World's best midfielder at present, did not have a proper tune-up to the season and he might not be rushed to the playing XI, especially when the team has some solid replacements for him.

Dani Ceballos, who impressed everyone in the pre-season, is a candidate to get a place in the XI but Isco will be preferred ahead of others to partner Kroos and Casemiro in the midfield.

 

Forwards – Bale, Benzema and Asensio

This will be the first time in the last nine years Real Madrid will be going into a LaLiga season without the services of their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored the most number of goals for his side in the league every season since he came to the Spanish capital. His absence will surely leave a huge void in the side.

But, Real Madrid have enough star power to somewhat make up for the loss. Karim Benzema is the first-choice striker in the side and will start the game against Getafe while Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio will start on the wings.

This is a crucial season for Bale as the club has put faith in him to get the job done in the absence of Ronaldo. If the Welshman manages to be injury free, he can certainly be a threat up front.

Asensio, on the other hand, is always going to be the next big thing for Real Madrid and replacing Ronaldo in the playing XI is not easy. The youngster will look to show everyone why he is considered a special talent.

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