With Marcelo still recovering from his broken foot and Fabio Coentrao picking up his second injury of the season during the Champions League tie with Ajax on Tuesday, Real Madrid once again have selection headaches in the full back position.
José Mourinho's side face Valladolid on Saturday at the José Zorilla stadium and their defence is in for a makeover from recent weeks with their back four likely to consist of Sergio Ramos at right back, a centre-back pairing of Raphael Varane and Pepe and Álvaro Arbeloa at left-back.
The experiment of playing Michael Essien at left-back proved to be a disaster away to Borussia Dortmund, with the Germans having so much space down the right wing it was as if that area of the field was a motorway. The Ghanaian put in a decent performance against Celta in the league, but his performance in Germany was a nightmare, and, owing to the fact that he has just returned to training after being out for several weeks to an allergy, it is unlikely he will be called into action by Mourinho.
Madrid Castilla defender Nacho has played twice at left-back for Madrid in both legs of the Copa del Rey tie against Alcoyano, but is used to playing at centre-back for Castilla, a bone of contention between Mourinho and Castilla coach Alberto Toril.
The last time that Madrid were without both Marcelo and Coentrao, Mourinho opted for Varane as centre-back, and pushed Ramos out onto the right, his usual position until last season, and Arbeloa at left-back. Mourinho has a lot of faith in Varane, proved by throwing him in at the deep end against Manchester City in Madrid's opening Champions League game back in September. The Frenchman struggled against Roberto Lewandowski but he is the most secure option available to Mourinho, who won't want to be taking any chances at left-back given that Ebert, one of the revelations of the season, plays on the right hand side.