Real Madrid visit local rivals Rayo Vallecano in the 35th Matchday of the Spanish League on Sunday night.
Madrid sit in third place in La Liga and need one win in the next four games to secure Champions League football for the 2019/20 campaign.
Rayo Vallecano are at the bottom of the league, seven points behind 17th-placed Real Valladolid. If Girona wins the three points against Sevilla later in the afternoon, it would mean Rayo is officially relegated in case of a defeat against Real Madrid at the Vallecas stadium.
Rayo Vallecano’s top goalscorer Raul de Tomas has been on loan from Real Madrid for the last two seasons and is ineligible to play against Los Blancos on Sunday night.
Alvaro Medran is back from suspension and should come into the center of midfield, while Gorka Elustondo remains sidelined with a knee injury.
— Rayo Vallecano (@RayoVallecano) April 27, 2019
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos will miss the trip to Vallecas through a hamstring injury, while Alvaro Odriozola sustained a broken collarbone in training last week and will miss the rest of the season.
Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want to rush Vinicius Junior back to the first team, as the Brazilian winger hasn’t played under ‘Zizou’ since his return in the Real Madrid dugout. He also confirmed that Madrid’s top scorer Karim Benzema is out of tonight’s game against Rayo.
What did the managers say
Rayo Vallecano head coach Paco Jemez knows his team desperately needs a victory in the clash against the European champions.
“It’s very simple. We need to win yes or yes and we have to do it against one of the best in the league, but that’s no excuse. We’re going to try to make a great game,” he said via the official website of the club.
“If we can get a victory tomorrow, we can win every other game. That way we’ll be convinced that we can beat anyone and do the accounts we want.
“If we do not win tomorrow, things will be impossible. Real Madrid is better than us in almost everything. Except in one thing: the need.”
— Real Madrid C.F.⚽ (@realmadrid) April 28, 2019
Zidane believes Rayo Vallecano will be highly motivated, as they fight to keep their place in top-flight Spanish football.
“If you want to put points on the board nowadays, you have to play with high intensity. That’s how we performed against Getafe and we want to do the same against Rayo,” he said via the Real Madrid official website.
“Of late, we’ve faced sides who have had a lot to play for. For example, Getafe the other night, and now Rayo, who are battling to stay up.
“We know just how motivated Rayo will be and they’ll try and do their best. Judging by their games, they’re a side that never gives up and we’ll have to be at our best if we’re to get a good result.”
Real Madrid have won their last 14 matches against Rayo Vallecano in all competitions.
Rayo Vallecano have failed to win 12 of their last 13 games in La Liga, noting two draws and 10 defeats in the process.
Los Blancos have suffered only one defeat in their last 10 away games across all competitions.
The Vallecans haven’t beaten Real Madrid since their 1-0 victory in the Copa del Rey back in January 2002.