With Barcelona beyond reach in first place , overhauling Atletico Madrid and claiming second in La Liga has to be the target for Los Blancos in the closing weeks of what has been a disappointing campaign.
To move to within a couple of points of their city rivals, they face a stern challenge against a Valencia outfit that have lost only four league games this season – half the tally of Madrid – but whose top four ambitions have been hampered by an astonishing 16 draws in 29 outings.
|Game||Valencia vs Real Madrid|
|Date||Wednesday, March 3|
|Time||8:30pm BST / 3:30pm EST|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|beIN Sports / beIN Sports en Espanol||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be shown on Premier Sports 1 and Eleven Sports 1.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports 1||Eleven Sports 1|
Squads & Team News
|Defenders||Gabriel, Diakhaby, Garay, Roncaglia, Gaya, Lato|
|Midfielders||Kondogbia, Parejo, Wass, Soler, Lee|
|Forwards||Guedes, Cheryshev, Torres, Rodrigo, Mina, Gameiro|
Valencia are without Cristiano Piccini, Francis Coquelin and Ruben Sobrino but otherwise have a full squad open to Marcelino.
Valencia starting XI: Neto; Wass, Diakhaby, Garay, Gaya; Soler, Parejo, Kondogbia, Guedes; Rodrigo, Gameiro
|Position||Real Madrid squad|
|Goalkeepers||Navas, Luca, Moha|
|Defenders||Vallejo, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Odriozoloa, Reguilon|
|Midfielders||Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Asensio, Isco, Ceballos|
|Forwards||Mariano, Benzema, Bale, Vazquez|
Zinedine Zidane has a number of selection headaches prior to this encounter, with Thibaut Courtois ruled out. Keylor Navas is liable to be selected ahead of Enzo Zidane in goal.
Daniel Carvajal is injured in the rearguard while Nacho Fernandez is banned.
Vinicius Junior continues to miss out along with Marcos Llorente.
Real Madrid starting XI: Navas, Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Lucas, Benzema, Asensio
Betting & Match Odds
Real Madrid are priced at odds of winning 7/5 according to bet 365 , while a draw is available at 13/5. A win for Valencia is priced at 9/5.
With little left to play for this season, even the great Zinedine Zidane admits that it has been tough to get Real Madrid moving in the correct direction since returning to the club in mid-March in the wake of their stunning Champions League exit against Ajax.
Los Blancos have failed to muster a fight for the title and find themselves 13 points behind Barcelona in third place, despite the Catalans dropping two points on Tuesday as they played out an incredible 4-4 draw against Villarreal.
At a club known for its glittering history, Zidane has confessed that rousing the squad for the nine remaining matches this season promises to be a difficult task .
“At a team like Madrid, when you know you will not win a trophy, it is difficult, in moments during games,” he said after watching his side struggle to a 3-2 win over bottom club Huesca at the weekend, with Karim Benzema’s last-minute strike decisive.
“That is normal. But we are all pros here and will try and finish the season as well as possible - motivation is intrinsic and each player has their own.”
With the club struggling on the field, they have aimed to give their fans a boost off it by announcing plans to refurbish the Bernabeu in order to make it, in the words of president Florentino Perez, “the best stadium in the world” .
The whole ground is set to receive a major facelift, with a retractable roof and an interactive museum among the most notable additions.
“We are bound to excellence, it is time to transform the stadium. Our future necessarily involves a new benchmark Bernabeu, the best stadium in the world; avant-garde, comfortable, secure, with cutting-edge technology, and that is a new important source of income,” Perez said.
With Madrid’s minds perhaps wandering elsewhere, Valencia will seek to take advantage and further their own ambition for Champions League football next season.
Head coach Marcelino is wary of the task at hand and has warned his players not to expect opponents with a soft touch.
“Winning against Valencia at Mestalla is always prestigious and we hope to face the best Real Madrid, as that's what the number of rotations against Huesca indicates,” he said.
“Every game Madrid play they have an obligation to win because that's what their history says.
“It is clear that Zidane and Real Madrid have formed a perfect and victorious tandem.”
Valencia, who are chasing a fourth win in five games, would move within a point of fourth-placed Getafe with their 10th win of the season.