Real Madrid travel to Istanbul with Champions League future at stake

Sports Monday 21/October/2019 22:59 PM
By: Times News Service
Real Madrid travel to Istanbul with Champions League future at stake

MADRID: Real Madrid travel to Turkey on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s vital Champions League tie away to Galatasaray knowing that any result other than a win could mean a humiliating exit from the competition at the group stage.

Zinedine Zidane’s side lost their opening Champions League game away to Paris Saint Germain and then needed to come back from two-goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw at home to unfancied Bruges and have only one point from a possible six.

They now face two games against the Turkish side in order to get the six points that would put their Champions League campaign back on track.

The Spanish side travel following a poor display at the weekend in which they lost 1-0 away to recently promoted Mallorca following a disjointed performance which has again raised questions over Zidane’s leadership.
Zidane rested key players such as Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Fede Valverde (who has been vital in recent matches) and Eden Hazard and saw how their replacements failed to respond.

Varane, Carvajal, Valverde and Hazard will almost certainly start on Tuesday and Tony Kroos also has options after recovering from a muscle injury, but Gareth Bale and Luka Modric are still out after picking up injuries during the international break.

Modric has bruising on his thigh after playing for Croatia against Wales, while Bale injured a calf muscle in the same match and as yet the club has not given any indications as to when they will return.

The good news for Zidane is that the political situation in the Catalan region of north-east Spain means Saturday’s ‘Clasico’ against Barcelona in the Camp Nou has been postponed and he and his players will be able to focus entirely on Tuesday’s match, knowing they will then be able to rest next weekend.

However, if Madrid fail to win in Istanbul, that could work against Zidane if the prospect of crashing out of Europe convinces club President, Florentino Perez he needs another pair of hands at the helm.