Casemiro To Miss Real Madrid’s Next La Liga Match
Real Madrid’s Brazilian midfielder will serve a one-match ban after picking up his fifth caution for a clumsy challenge on Aritz Aduriz.
Zinedine Zidane will be forced into a midfield reshuffle against Alaves next week after Casemiro went in the referee’s book in San Mamés for an elbow on Aritz Aduriz in the first half.
Casemiro was fortunate not to be cautioned earlier after the Brazilian midfielder cut Inaki Williams down in midfield but did earn a mention in the ref’s match report for an altogether more innocuous challenge 10 minutes later.
In all likelihood Mateo Kovacic will come in against Alaves, who will themselves be hamstrung by the absence of a key midfielder: Marcos Llorente, on loan from the Bernabéu, will be prevented from playing due to the so-called fear clause in his contract.
Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane was happy to get 3 points against Athletic Club, as Real Madrid secured their place atop LaLiga for the duration of the upcoming international break, but he warned against complacency over the coming weeks.
The visitors managed to take a hard-fought three points in the Basque Country after reacting well to being pegged back by an Aritz Aduriz header in the second half, keeping their cool to regain the lead quickly and ensure that they maintained top spot for the long-term.
“It was important to stand up and be counted, we have 11 games left, we are leaders but it doesn’t mean anything right now,” the French coach explained at his post-match press conference.
“We won at a difficult ground, we were put through a lot, but at the same time we showed character. We know that there are more difficult games to go.
Zidane explained the decision to use more of a 4-4-2 to close out the game, which asked a lot more of Cristiano Ronaldo up front physically and ended in him being replaced late on.
“Karim [Benzema] had a great game, at the end we found more balance with a 4-4-2. With the substitution, it is nothing to worry about with Cristiano Ronaldo, he can be replaced just like anyone else.
“He is happy because we won the game, that’s all. With the change with Lucas [Vazquez] we looked for a 4-4-2, to defend together. It didn’t mean taking a step back due to our rival, we were looking for more balance.
“Cristiano, [Gareth] Bale and Karim have given a lot, and for this reason we changed them for Isco and [Alvaro] Morata.”
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