In todays round-up: Alavés awaits, Carvajal's injury status, Keylor and Courtois head-to-head, the debut of the greatest frontline in history, and Club World Cup possible final opponents.
Bale returns for Alavés clash
Real Madrid completed their final training ahead of Saturday’s encounter with Alavés in Vitoria. The pressure is on Lopetegui and his players after a run of poor results which sees them without a win or a goal in their three previous games.
Absentee in Moscow, Gareth Bale is expected to return this Saturday, after a scan earlier this week gave him the all clear following his half-time exit from the derby last Saturday with a muscle issue.
Madrid won both LaLiga fixtures against Alavés last season, beating them 2-1 in Vitoria and 4-0 at the Bernabéu. But in light of their recent form, a win this Saturday against sixth-placed Alavés is far from a given.
Dani Carvajal will miss out on the trip to Alavés, as the injury to the soleus muscle in his left leg has been deemed more serious than originally thought. The Spanish defender had to leave the field of play after 43 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to CSKA on Wednesday.
The club has not specified the severity of the injury, but AS has discovered that it is a grade 2 injury, meaning recovery time could be up to a month and a half, which could rule Carvajal out of the crucial ‘El Clásico’ tie with Barcelona on October 28.
🔍 Carvajal medical report.https://t.co/v4KXCPqLjm— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) 4 October 2018
Keylor back with Costa Rica
After having asked to be left out for Costa Rica’s previous friendlies in September, Keylor will return to international duty for their upcoming games against Mexico and Colombia. So far this season, Keylor and Thibaut Courtois have shared duties between the sticks for Lopetegui, with the Costa Rican playing 480 minutes and the Belgian 450 minutes.
In terms of performance, statistically there is little between the two shot-stoppers: both have played five games each, with Navas conceding six goals and keeping two clean sheets, and Courtois conceding five goals and two also with two clean sheets to his name.
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the debut of the greatest frontline partnership in Real Madrid’s history. Kopa, Rial, Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento all played together for the first time in the 8-0 thrashing of Osasuna on October 10, 1958. The quartet scored all of Madrid’s goals on the day: Di Stefano (3), Gento (2), Rial (2) and Puskas (1).
Madrid’s possible Club World Cup final opponents
Boca Juniors will play Palmeiras and River Plate face Gremio in the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores on October 23 and 30. The winner of the competition will represent CONMEBOL in the FIFA Club World Cup in the UAE in December, and will likely face Real Madrid in the final, provided Madrid and the CONMEBOL representative go through to the final as expected.