Real Madrid-Atlético Madrid

Carvajal hands Zidane a fresh problem for Atletico derby

The Real Madrid right back picked up a thigh muscle injury in the victory over Inter Milan and is a doubt for the derby with Odriozola also sidelined.

Carvajal hands Zidane a fresh problem for Atletico derby

Zinedine Zidane had barely managed to patch up his hard-hit defence before bring delivered another blow with the news that Dani Carvajal will miss key games, potentially including the derby against Atlético, after picking up a thigh injury during the Champions League victory over Inter Milan. Real Madrid went into the game in San Siro without captain Sergio Ramos and top goalscorer Karim Benzema, who both remain sidelined, and Fede Valverde, who has established himself in the midfield this season and popped up with some crucial goals.

Carvajal is expected to miss games against Sevilla in LaLiga and Madrid’s two remaining Champions League fixtures against Shakhtar and Borussia Dortmund. The victory over Inter left Zidane’s side well-placed to progress from Group B but both opponents are capable of making life difficult for Madrid as they aim to top the mini-league ahead of Mönchengladbach.

According to sources consulted by AS, Carvajal’s injury is likely to sideline the Spain defender for two weeks, giving Zidane a ray of hope that his starting right back could return in time to face Diego Simeone’s side at the Bernabéu on 12 December.

Zidane's ever-rotating back four

Carvajal has been beset by injuries this season and has managed only 393 minutes across five games in all competitions. Zidane has rarely been able to field his first choice back line during the 2020-21 campaign with his squad hit by injuries and covid-19 withdrawals. Against Alavés on Saturday, Zidane will have to improvise with Álvaro Odriozola still not available. Nacho and Lucas Vázquez are candidates to step in at right back and Éder Militão has returned after self-isolating due to coronavirus in time to prevent a serious issue in central defence. As it stands, Zidane has only five senior defenders fit.