Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui said Saturday that he was confident that star defender Marcelo will be ready for the upcoming El Clasico duel against Barcelona at Camp Nou.
The Spanish coach said Marcelo has recovered from the strong blow to his right ankle sustained during Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Plzen in the UEFA Champions League group stage, reports Efe.
“Marcelo had a blow that forced him to leave the field (against Plzen), but he is fine,” Lopetegui confirmed at a press conference. “He has trained normally and we think he will be available for tomorrow.”
The Spanish coach did not give clues about Sunday’s starting lineup against Barcelona, as the participation of Real Madid midfielders Isco Alarcon and Marco Asensio was still in doubt.
Real Madrid has had a poor start for Lopetegui’s debut season, and media rumors have continued to swirl over his future with the club, but the coach insisted he was only focused on the upcoming game.
“I hope to keep breathing after El Clasico. I do not think I’m going to die, each one has one hundred percent energy and mine is geared towards helping my team as a coach,” Lopetegui said at a press conference.
Barcelona holds the top spot in the Spanish league standings with 18 points, ahead of Espanyol on goal differential, while Real Madrid is in seventh place with 14 points.
This will also be the first El Clasico since 2007 without Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, who is out with a fractured right arm, and ex-Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved to Juventus over the summer.