Real Madrid prepare for Alaves clash with fully fit squad but Casemiro is out due to suspension

Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal
International Business Times

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is expected to have a fully fit to squad to choose from when the La Liga leaders host Alaves on Sunday (1 April). However, Casemiro will miss the game due to suspension as Los Blancos will try to keep their two-point gap from Barcelona at the top of the table ahead a crucial week which will also see them facing Leganes and Atletico Madrid in the space of seven days.

Zidane's side have been hit by a number of injury blows during the first months of the 2017-2018 campaign, with key players like Gareth Bale, Casemiro and Luka Modric having been on the side-lines for long spells.

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Raphael Varane, Fabio Coentrao and Pepe were in the treatment room when on 18 February Los Blancos beat Athletic Club Bilbao in their last game before the international break.

However, the trio have taken advantage of the two-week break to shake of those problems in order be ready to face Alaves, with Pepe even been able to represent Portugal during his national team win over Hungary.

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The return of Varane is a special boost for Zidane as the France international is yet to play a game since suffering a grade-two muscle strain in his left hamstring during the 2-1 defeat to Valencia on 22 February.

The good news for Zidane continued during the break as all his internationals were also able to train on Friday after returning to the Spanish capital uninjured.

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"Real Madrid completed their fifth training session of the week in continued preparations for the La Liga tie against Alavés, which will be played at the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday (4:15pm CEST). Zidane called on the entire squad in a session where the main focus was ball work," the club confirmed.

Casemiro is thus expected to be the only absentee to face Alaves after the Brazilian midfielder was booked against Athletic. Isco and Mateo Kovačić could take his place in the line-up while the Brazilian will get a much needed rest ahead of the busy month of April, which will include the visit of Barcelona on 23 April and the Champions League quarter finals against Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid are currently leading the table, two points ahead of Barcelona but still with a game in hand against Celta Vigo.

Furthermore, if the beat Alaves on Sunday afternoon, they will put further pressure on Barcelona as the Catalans corresponding fixture with Granada will be the last one of the week.

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