Real Madrid and Sevilla play one of the most interesting ties in the last 16 of the King’s Cup knockout competition on Wednesday night when they clash in the Santiago Bernabeu.
The game is the first Madrid have played since winning the World Club Championship in Japan on December 18th and it will be interesting to see how they return after a two and a half weeks break from football.
Kiko Casilla will play in goal with Keylor Navas being rested for the Liga Santander game at home to bottom of the table Granada on Saturday and with a relatively straightforward looking game at the weekend, it will be interesting to see if Zinedine Zidane picks his strongest side on Wednesday against the side which lost to Barcelona in last season’s Cup final.
Gareth Bale is still sidelined, but he is Real Madrid’s only injury worry and players such as James Rodriguez and Isco will be looking for a place in the side, although that could be difficult with Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric all available.
Sevilla are currently third in the league, just four behind and travel to Madrid after scoring 14 goals in the previous round against Formentera, winning 5-1 away and 9-1 at home against the lower category side.
Those wins showed that Sevilla are taking the Cup very seriously indeed and Jorge Sampaoli can be expected to field his strongest available side in the Bernabeu with Steven N’ Zonzi and Samir Nasri, who has recently been in the spotlight after it became known he had an intravenous treatment in an American clinic over the holidays, in central midfield.
With the return leg to be played next week this first leg may not be decisive, but it will be a barometer of how both sides kick off a 2017 in which both harbor lofty ambitions.