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Official: Real Madrid starting XI against Shakhtar Donetsk



Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid will be looking to confirm their progression to the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League when they face Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw in a couple of hours.

Ahead of the vital game, manager Carlo Ancelotti has released the starting lineup that will take the field against the Ukrainian giants.

As expected, the Real Madrid manager has made several notable changes to the side that started at the weekend against Getafe, keeping in mind the first El Clasico of the season later this week.

Andriy Lunin is one of the players who retains his place in the lineup from the La Liga clash, owing to the injury to Thibaut Courtois. Antonio Rudiger has also kept his spot in the Los Blancos defence, but there are wholesale changes around him.

Lucas Vazquez comes in for Dani Carvajal at right-back while Ferland Mendy replaces David Alaba at left-back. Nacho Fernandez gets the nod to partner Rudiger at the heart of the Madrid defence against Shakhtar.

Moving into the middle of the park, Aurelien Tchouameni has been retained by Ancelotti. The Frenchman is flanked by the duo of Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos, with Luka Modric getting a rest.

Karim Benzema returns to spearhead the Real Madrid attack after being left out against Getafe. He will be supported by Rodrygo Goes from the right flank while, in a surprise selection, Eden Hazard slots in on the left-wing, with Vinicius Jr being rested ahead of the Clasico.

Real Madrid Starting Lineup: Lunin, Vazquez, Rudiger, Nacho, Mendy, Valverde, Tchouameni, Kroos, Rodrygo, Benzema, Hazard.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder trained away from the group last week, but has no injury – report



Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

With the international break underway, several Real Madrid players have been called up for national team assignments. The stars who have not travelled for international duty have continued to work at the club’s Valdebebas training facility to prepare for the restart.

Toni Kroos is one such player who has remained in Madrid, having retired from international football back in 2021.

However, there had been concerns growing around the 33-year-old’s physical condition as he regularly did indoor work last week and was not spotted in group training with his teammates.

Now, Sergio Quirante has come up with an update on Kroos’ situation, stating that even though the midfielder largely did individual work inside the facilities over the last week, he is fine and has no injuries.

Taking advantage of the international break, the former Bayern Munich superstar is understood to have gone through an individual program to prepare for the final, decisive stretch of the 2022/23 season.

Kroos not being injured comes as a big positive for Real Madrid, ahead of important games against Real Valladolid and Barcelona within the first five days of April.

The rest of the Real Madrid midfield contingent – Luka Modric, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde, and Dani Ceballos – are all away on international duties and could return with some fatigue from the travel.

So, it is important that Kroos is fully fit and ready to go as Real Madrid look to cut down the gap to the top of the table in La Liga and also make it to the finals of the Copa del Rey by overturning a first-leg deficit against Barcelona in the semi-finals.

Kroos has played 37 matches this season, chipping in with two goals and five assists in the process. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it is still unclear whether he will renew or hang up his boots.

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