REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: More bad luck for jinxed Jovic

A sprain has stopped the striker from travelling with the squad to the ground where he scored his last goal, against Osasuna, almost a year ago.

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Momento en el que Jovic disparó con fuerza en El Sadar batiendo a Sergio Herrera, portero rojillo.
JESUS ALVAREZ ORIHUELA DIARIO AS

Luka Jovic's bad luck continues. The Serbian striker had been included in the 23-man squad list for this evening's game against Osasuna, but a muscular strain sustained late on Friday meant that he had to stay in the capital. It's a bizarre situation as it has denied him the chance to return to the ground where he scored his last goal for Real Madrid. That was almost a year ago - 12 months without a goal is a poor track record for a player who joined in the summer of 2019 for 60 million euros.

He joined Madrid on the back of the 27 goals he netted for Eintracht Frankfurt the previous season when he also finished as top scorer in the Europa League with 10 goals in 11 games. But since his arrival in Spain, it's as though he has become disconnected from the great quality which we all know he has inside him. In the 27 matches he played last season (only seven in the starting line-up) he managed just two goals - one against Leganés at the Bernabéu and another against Osasuna in Pamplona, plus two assists. Disappointing figures which prompted Zidane to lose faith in the forward, and he has not figured in the coach's team rotations this season. He has been handed minutes in just five games (he started two of them) and has not scored or created a single goal; he has completed just 33 passes. Over the summer, Zidane told him that he preferred Borja Mayoral as his second striker behind Benzema. The problem is that no club in Europe is prepared to meet Jovic's salary which is why Borja Mayoral decided to accept an offer to join Roma, who had spent the previous two summers trying to sign him.

9 February 2020: Jovic's last goal

It was at El Sadar where Jovic bagged his last goal for the club. Madrid won 1-4 and the Serbian came on for the final few minutes after Isco, Ramos and Lucas Vázquez had replied to Unai García's opener. He latched onto a Valverde through ball to blast an unstoppable strike into the top corner. It was a stunning strike which reopened the debate about whether Zidane should give him more playing time, but when opportunities came his way, he didn't take them. Then football was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic and Jovic was involved in three incidents which tarnished his reputation. He flew to Belgrade when the country was in a state of emergency and while back home in Serbia he went out partying to celebrate his girlfriend's birthday, breaking a 14-day quarantine. To cap it all, he returned to Madrid nursing a fractured toe after falling off a wall. Then he made matters even worse by being caught attending a barbecue at his home in Madrid while his foot was still in a protective cast, posing with friends, without face masks and without social distancing...

At 23 and with three and a half years left on his contract with Madrid, it is looking increasingly likely that Jovic will go out on loan this summer or even be sold. With setbacks like yesterday's, it's going to be very difficult for him to win his place in the side.