Real Madrid’s La Liga title is slipping increasingly out of their reach, with Barcelona requiring only eight points from the next 18 available to reclaim the trophy.
But Los Blancos still have pride to play for, which in turn will make sure they remain switched on in the Champions League ahead of an upcoming semi-final against Manchester City.
Carlo Ancelotti won’t settle for second best and here’s the starting XI he could pick to face Real Sociedad in La Liga this week.
GK: Thibaut Courtois – Absent for the Girona defeat but returned against Almeria.
RB: Dani Carvajal – Could return after Lucas Vazquez was given a chance at the weekend.
CB: Eder Militao – Has started 11 of Real’s last 12 La Liga games.
CB: Antonio Rudiger – David Alaba nursing an injury potentially makes Ancelotti’s mind up.
LB: Nacho – No Ferland Mendy or Eduardo Camavinga through injury and suspension respectively.
CM: Federico Valverde – Should be fresh after staying on the bench against Almeria.
CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – This is another chance to further stake his claim to be indispensable.
CM: Dani Ceballos – Regularly getting the nod over Toni Kroos in La Liga.
RW: Marco Asensio – Has routinely chipped in with goals and assists in La Liga this season and has 14 to his name in 26 appearances so far.
ST: Karim Benzema – Real lack depth and cover at ‘number nine’, which fans will hope is something that can be addressed in the summer.
LW: Rodrygo – With Asensio more at home on the right and Vinicius ruled out through suspension, the Brazilian’s versatility will be an asset here.