Alaba had been struggling with a hamstring issue that saw him withdrawn after scoring during last week’s 3-1 LaLiga win at Osasuna but is back to partner Eder Militao at the heart of the defence.
The 13-time European champions were expected to be missing Casemiro at the Etihad Stadium, with the Brazilian midfielder also suffering from a muscular problem, but he is at least named among the substitutes, with Fede Valverde seemingly dropping into midfield and Rodrygo starting in attack.
“From what we saw yesterday in training, we have some doubts about Alaba and some more doubts about Casemiro,” said Real boss Carlo Ancelotti at his pre-match press conference on Monday. “Training will tell us more. We have more confidence with Alaba than with Casemiro.”
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Midfield maestro Luka Modric was among those rested in Real’s last LaLiga outing and comes back into the XI tonight.
Such is Madrid’s healthy lead at the summit of the Spanish top-flight, Ancelotti was also able to rest the likes of Vinicius Jr and Toni Kroos.
Real Madrid XI (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Éder Militão, Nacho, Mendy; Modrić, Valverde, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinícius Júnior