Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: Real Madrid host the much improved Athletic Bilbao as the Basque team tries to earn a spot in next year’s edition of the UEFA Europa League. Meanwhile, Los Blancos have nothing to play for and it’s showing after a few disappointing performances lately.
Coach Zinedine Zidane has acknowledged many times before that it’s very hard to stay engaged and play quality football when you’re not used to your season being over by March. Still, most of Madrid’s roster should be trying to make a statement in order to stay with the team next season, given that the French coach has publicly said that the club will make many changes next summer.
Apparently, midfielders Marcos Llorente and Dani Ceballos have failed to do so, as neither one of them made the squad list for this game. It seems clear that both of them are on their way out of the club even though they probably have the potential to be important players for the club.
This match against Athletic will be a quality chance for Isco, Asensio or Bale to prove themselves. Real Madrid are out to get back to winning ways when they host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, when Zinedine Zidane’s side men look to climb La Liga’s ranks and close the gap on Atletico Madrid.
Leganes held Real to a 1-1 draw in their clash on Monday, leaving the Madrid heavyweights four points behind second-place Atleti with only six games remaining.
Athletic have already taken points off Real this term and drew 1-1 at San Mames when Julen Lopetegui was at the helm in September. Two managerial changes later, Madrid will be hoping to clinch a second win in four games with Zidane back in charge.
Los Blancos will be guaranteed to finish below leaders Barcelona this season if they fail to beat Athletic Bilbao and the Blaugrana clinch a victory at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday.