Real Madrid will be aiming to consolidate their position at the top of the La Liga standings when they take on Rayo Vallecano at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Los Blancos will go into the game with several of their players unavailable as Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Dani Ceballos remain sidelined.
But there is one positive for the current table-toppers heading into the game tomorrow as they have recovered one player in training today.
Ferland Mendy trains with the group
Indeed, as per Mario Cortegana of The Athletic, Ferland Mendy has rejoined group training today on the eve of Real Madrid’s La Liga clash against Rayo Vallecano.
The French defender has struggled with injuries and fitness issues in the past couple of seasons and has already missed five matches this term.
And, it appeared that he could be out of the game against Rayo as well when he was taken off with an overload against Barcelona last week.
Mendy did individual work while training over the past week as he aimed to recover from his muscle issue.
And, it appears that he has done exactly that, as the former Lyon ace trained normally with the rest of the team, hinting at his availability against Rayo Vallecano.
Unlikely to start
Even though Mendy might have recovered in time for the game against Rayo Vallecano, it appears highly unlikely that the left-back will start on Sunday.
Instead, Fran Garcia, who joined Real Madrid last summer from Rayo, could be in line for a starting berth against his former employers.
Club captain Nacho Fernandez is also an option for Carlo Ancelotti if he seeks more defensive solidity.
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.