Real Valladolid host reigning champions Real Madrid in their last La Liga fixture of the calendar year on Friday night.
After a sticky start to life back in Spain’s top flight – winning one of their first six games after promotion – Valladolid climbed out of the relegation zone in October to sign off with three straight home wins ahead of the World Cup.
Real Madrid have lost their last two away games in a groggy finish to the first half of La Liga. Los Blancos have a comfortable cushion over Real Sociedad in third, but are two points behind Barcelona at the top.
Here’s everything you need to know about La Liga’s first week after the World Cup.
Valladolid team news
Jawad El Yamiq was drafted into Morocco’s starting XI during the World Cup due to the spate of defensive injuries suffered en route to the semi-finals. However, the 30-year-old picked up a hamstring problem of his own in the third-place playoff.
El Yamiq’s compatriot Anuar wasn’t part of the Atlas Lions squad after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in September. The former Chelsea serial loanee Kenedy is also a doubt while he nurses a groin issue.
Valladolid predicted lineup vs Real Madrid
Valladolid Starting 11 (4-2-3-1): Masip; Fresneda, Fernandez, J Sanchez, Escudero; K Perez, Aguado; I Sanchez, Plano, Mesa; Weissman.
Real Madrid team news
13 Real Madrid players travelled to the World Cup and three made it beyond the quarter-finals. It could have been four but Karim Benzema left France’s squad early after sustaining an injury in training. The reigning Ballon d’Or winner has turned out for Madrid since, featuring in a friendly against Leganes, but his compatriots Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga may not be rushed straight back into action.
37-year-old Luka Modric started all seven World Cup games as Croatia finished third and could be another figure that Carlo Ancelotti saves until the new year.
Real Madrid Starting 11 (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius.