Battle for the No.1 jersey at Real Madrid

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(OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

All eyes will be on the most unlikely figure when Real Madrid welcome Granada to the Bernabéu on Saturday afternoon.

Los Blancos splashed the cash on players such as Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, Luka Jovic and Rodrygo over the summer but the strangest summer addition of the lot will be under the spotlight when LaLiga’s top two face off in the Spanish capital.

Alphonse Areola will start in goal for Los Blancos against the Andalusians with Thibaut Courtois ruled out with a stomach problem. The battle for the No.1 jersey is the talk of the Spanish press and, after impressing in Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Osasuna – his only LaLiga start for Madrid to date – and the second half of the 2-2 Champions League draw with Club Brugge in midweek, all eyes will be on the Paris Saint-Germain loanee’s performance. Visit https://www.cansportsbetting.ca/ to pick your winner.

Courtois, one of Madrid’s big signings in the summer of 2018, has come in for plenty of criticism since his move from Chelsea but was expected to be out-and-out first choice following Keylor Navas’ departure to PSG, which also saw Areola move in the other direction on a one-year loan deal.

The Belgian’s problems resurfaced against Brugge on Tuesday night with some reports suggesting the former Chelsea man suffered a panic attack at half-time, reports Madrid have since refuted with an official statement. Courtois was substituted form Areola at half-time with Madrid 0-2 down and has not trained with the rest of the squad since.

True or not, there is now another battle for a starting role in goal and should Areola provide another impressive performance against Granada on Saturday, Zinedine Zidane could be left with another tricky decision over who his out-and-out first choice in goal is, despite what the Frenchman had to say in his pre-match press conference. Visit usa sports betting sites to make your betting choice.

“You say that I said that there wouldn’t be any debate, but there’s always a debate to be had here, regardless of what I say,” he said when questioned over his first-choice goalkeeper. “You then go away and do your jobs and I do mine. I’m going to call upon all of the players. People are entitled to their own opinions. We’ve kept clean sheets in three games and he [Courtois] was in goal for them.”

Granada have come flying out of the traps and sit second in the table despite being many people’s favourites for the drop following promotion last season.

Madrid will be without a host of defenders, with Marcelo, Nacho and Mendy all missing, meaning Alvaro Odriozola could fill in at left-back.

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