• Real Madrid’s defender Raphael Varane is expected to step up in the La Liga opener
  • One player Los Blancos should look out for is Alexander Isak
  • Isak scored a brace in his last matchup against Real Madrid

Expectations are high for Real Madrid in the upcoming La Liga season as the defending champions are looking to start their campaign with a win over Real Sociedad. One key piece in Zinedine Zidane’s roster for Sunday's matchup is center back Raphael Varane.

The way Varane facilitates the defense serves as a staple in Real Madrid’s recent success. Having the presence of Varane is crucial in their La Liga opener as he’s expected to stop Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, as reported by Fansided’s The Real Champs.

The previous encounter of Los Blancos and La Real ended with Isak tallying a brace in their latest Copa del Rey encounter. The potential Isak has shouldn’t be underestimated as Real Madrid firsthand experienced his capabilities earlier this year. The match ended with the final score of 4-3 in favor of Isak’s squad.

Throughout Isak’s career, he’s appeared in 45 appearances for Real Sociedad where he’s netted 16 goals and tallied three assists. Someone of his capabilities should not be overlooked, as his game will be covered by the elite defense from Varane. It is the responsibility of the 27-year-old veteran to limit Real Sociedad’s scoring opportunities, As one of the team’s more consistent defenders, Varane can keep up to the speed and athleticism of Real Sociedad's young strikers.

The four-time Champions League winner has suited up in 319 games for Real Madrid and has managed to score on 15 separate occasions and tally seven assists. In last year’s La Liga tournament, Varane played in 36 games and started in 32 of them. As a defensive icon, it will be expected that he continue playing on top of his game. The former World Cup winner is scouted to have elite passing skills and tremendous anticipation for his opponents.

There’s no question that Real Sociedad should not be underestimated. It will be interesting to see how Real Madrid will start off their defending reign as champions in the season opener. Given that Zidane’s roster consists of veteran players such as Varane, the first match of the season will prove to be a worthy duel to monitor.