Casemiro misses Osasuna trip, Ancelotti names changed squad
Casemiro, who has a hamstring problem, won’t travel to Pamplona. Modric will be rested, Castilla players Latasa and Rafa Marín make up the numbers.
There was some unexpected bad news for Real Madrid on Tuesday. Casemiro was missing from the morning training session in Valdebebas - as the team completed preparations for tomorrow’s league trip to Osasuna. The Brazilian midfielder was reported to be suffering from some kind of muscular issue - he felt discomfort to his left hamstring and won’t be among the players who travel to Vitoria for Wednesday’s match.
Results elsewhere at the weekend mean that the Osasuna game is not imperative for Carlo Ancelotti’s team, but a win at El Sadar would inch them closer to the league title. Madrid have a 15-point advantage at the top of the table and need just seven points to mathematically be crowned champions. But they could wrap up the title even sooner if their nearest rivals, Barcelona, Sevilla and Atlético drop points in the next two matchdays.
Club sources have told AS that Casemiro is expected to be fit for next week’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City. Real Madrid are not in action this weekend due to the Copa del Rey final so he will have plenty of time to recover. Kroos and Camavinga covered for him in Sunday’s game against Sevilla - a match he missed through suspension. Ancelotti is expected to use a similar formula against Osasuna tomorrow. It’s the first time that Casemiro has been sidelined with physical problems this season. A bout of gastroenteritis forced him to be left out of the squad for the Granada game on 6 February. He was rested for the Week 6 meeting with Mallorca and missed three games for accumulation of bookings (Athletic and Sevilla, and the return leg against PSG in the Champions League).
Whether he has suffered a tear or just a sprain, Casemiro has seven days to recover before the City game. If he fails to recover in time, Ancelotti could give another opportunity to Camavinga although that would be a gamble considering the teenager’s lack of experience at this level. That was in evidence in Madrid’s last outing against Sevilla, in which he was lucky to escape a red card and was taken off at the break. He looked sharp in previous games against Real Sociedad, Chelsea and Getafe but a European semi-final against the English champions presents an altogether different kind of challenge.
Several other players are also out. Mariano and Jovic, both with abductor problems, missed today’s session but should be available by next week. Mendy and Marcelo, are training apart and have started ballwork but as of the moment are out of the squad for the Osasuna game and doubtful for the City tie. At the Sánchez Pizjuán, Ancelotti played Dani Carvajal at left-back, an experiment which worked to the team’s advantage as he supplied two assists to help Madrid turn the game around. Jesús Vallejo remains in isolation with Covid-19.
New faces in the Madrid squad
There were two new faces in the list for the Osasuna game. Rafa Marín and Juanmi Latasa are part of the 20-man travelling party. It is the third time running that central defender Marin has been called up by the first team - he was on the bench against Chelsea and Sevilla, covering for Vallejo.
Centre-forward Latasa was included in the squad list for the league game against Granada on 6 February. He is Raúl’s first-choice to lead the attack for Castilla (with whom he has scored 10 goals), and has the chance to make his senior debut as an alternative to Benzema. Ancelotti confirmed that he has decided to give Luka Modric a well-earned rest.
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