Madrid: Italy's plans for a vital World Cup qualifier away to Spain on Saturday were dealt a huge blow when veteran Defender Giorgio Chiellini injured a calf muscle in training on Friday.
Lopetegui is unbeaten in 10 games as national team boss since Vicente del Bosque's successful reign was brought to an end by a 2-0 defeat to Italy at Euro 2016.
"Although on paper we sometimes seem inferior, we have always managed to find the right ingredients to obtain good performances and results against Spain," said Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon.
But the two have formed a formidable partnership in central defence for the past five years at international level and Ramos has repeatedly pleaded for the treatment dished out to Pique to stop.
The emergence of another Real favourite has helped sell out the Bernabeu as 21-year-old prodigy Marco Asensio looks set to make his first competitive international start after scoring four goals in five games so far this season.
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