Three Frenchmen, two Brazilians, two Germans, a Belgian, an Austrian, a Croatian and a Uruguayan made up the Real Madrid starting eleven against Villarreal, but no Spanish player started. The white team went out to play a league game for the first time in its history without any national footballer.
On the bench, on the other hand, the Spaniards Asensio, Nacho, Lucas Vázquez, Dani Ceballos, Vallejo and Luis López waited for their opportunity. The Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, bet on Courtois, Militão, Alaba, Rudiger, Mendy, Tchouaméni, Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Vinicius and Benzema to achieve all three at La Cerámica.
Of the eleven Real Madrid players who started the match, Militão, Vinícius and Valverde have a Spanish passport, so they do not occupy a non-EU position, but none is eligible for the Spanish team. Carvajal and Asensio were the representatives of Madrid who played with 'la roja' in the last World Cup in Qatar.
The day before, against Valladolid, Madrid began the match with three Spaniards: Carvajal, Ceballos and Asensio. The former is out against the groguets due to injury and both the Spaniard and the Andalusian have fallen out of the eleven in favor of Tchouaméni and Modric. The madridistas ended the duels at the José Zorrilla with just one Spaniard, in this case Lucas Vázquez.
Madrid have gone out several times in recent years with only one Spaniard in the starting lineup. The first time it happened was in a game against Betis in August 2015, when Sergio Ramos was the only Spanish-born starter in the capital. Against Sheriff last season, the whites started the match with Lucas Vázquez as the only Spaniard, but ended up without national players after the Galician was substituted.