Jovic: fresh out of luck
Having arrived back from Serbian duty in stellar form, Jovic was set to start against Villarreal until his coronavirus diagnosis.
Luka Jovic has so far yet to live up to expectations at Real Madrid. His first year at the Bernabéu was marked by controversy: he had a bitter fallout with Serbian coach Ljubiša Tumbakovic; he skipped confinement in Madrid to go to Belgrade, and invited a friend from Serbia to Madrid who turned out to have coronavirus. Add to that his poor performance on the pitch, which has been well below what was expected for the €60 million that Real Madrid paid for him. He has scored just two goals in over 800 minutes.
But it is also true that the Serbian striker has had some foul luck, as has been made evident with his recent Covid-19 diagnosis. Jovic came back from the international break with renewed energy after having impressed in Serbia’s three games, scoring three goals and providing two assists in 230 minutes played.
Upon his return to Madrid, Jovic was confident that his good run of form could continue in the Real Madrid shirt. His place in the starting XI for Saturday’s game against Villarreal was practically guaranteed as Benzema was still feeling some discomfort from a muscle injury picked up against Valencia before the international break.
Jovic’s proneness to injuries
But the PCR test taken on his return to Madrid confirmed that Jovic had been infected with the coronavirus while on duty with Serbia, something that was not entirely surprising considering four positives were detected in the Serbian camp on Wednesday (three players and one physio).
In his best moment of form since he signed with Madrid and with the doors of the starting XI open to him, Jovic was forced into a quarantine and will remain there until he can return a negative test. Despite being just 23-years-old, the Serbian player has shown himself to be prone to injuries: this is his sixth absence due to medical reasons since he signed for Madrid almost a year and a half ago.
In his absence, Mariano was handed an extremely rare starting place against Villarreal and took his opportunity by scoring a goal within two minutes. As a result, the Spanish-Dominican has a goal to his name after 98 minutes played this season, while Jovic has not returned a goal after 208 minutes. It remains to be seen if Benzema will return for the midweek game against Inter Milan. If not, Mariano will have another chance to make his case with Zidane in Jovic's absence.