Real Madrid CF will be facing Valencia FC on Sunday night, but Carlo Ancelotti will be travelling to the Mestalla stadium without a number of key first team players.

Real Madrid's 22-man squad list is still missing Toni Kross, who has yet to return to the squad this season after dealing with a nagging groin injury. Apart from the German, Ferland Mendy, Marcelo, Dani Ceballos, Gareth Bale and Mariano are also unavailable.

The midfield and left-back positions are heavily affected by the absences, with Ancelotti having to rely on the quality of his bench. The full squad list against Valencia is as follows: Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin, Toni Fuidias, Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Jesus Vallejo, Nacho, Miguel Gutierrez, Luka Modric, Marco Asensio, Casemiro, Fede Valverde, Lucas Vazquez, Isco, Eduardo Camavinga, Antonio Blanco, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Luka Jovic, Vinicius and Rodrygo.

Interestingly, Hazard is in the lineup even though he didn't play a single minute against Inter Milan in Los Blancos' midweek UEFA Champions League fixture. Ancelotti has admitted that he is staying cautious now that the Belgian is once again dealing with a nagging knee discomfort.

The Italian also admitted that it is risky to have Hazard play in consecutive matches.

"He didn't play in the last match as he had a minor knee issue, one that also bothered him in [Friday's] training session," Ancelotti told the press on Saturday. Nevertheless, he said that the player's condition has improved, but they must still proceed with caution.

"We must to be careful with him because of past injuries. To play him in two matches in a row could be difficult. He's not yet at the level we all want, but we're all confident that he'll get back to his best."

Meanwhile, after a positive start to the season, Gareth Bale has also suffered in injury setback. Ancelotti called it a "significant injury," and lamented the fact that the Welshman now has to take a step back after starting the season on a high note.

"We still don't know how long he'll be out," said the coach. "It's a shame. He had been playing well."

The returning manager has emphasised the importance of rotating his players, and allowing the big names time to recover in between matches. It is very early in the season, and they will need to find a way to stay healthy for the long haul.

Eden Hazard