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Concern as injuries continue to pile up at Real Madrid

Anceotti has been left without the best player in each line of his team: Courtois, Militao, Bellingham and Vinicius. Camavinga and Tchouameni join the casualty list...

Anceotti has been left without the best player in each line of his team: Courtois, Militao, Bellingham and Vinicius. Camavinga and Tchouameni join the casualty list...

With Jude Bellingham’s arrival over the summer, Real Madrid definitively sorted the spine of the team - building a “security corridor” as former Spain coach Luis Aragonés would say. One key player per line as an immutable constant to sustain the team throughout a season. Beyond specific rotations, a hard core made up of an elite goalkeeper, a quarterback in defense, a posh midfielder and an unbalanced forward. In That meant, a priori, for Los Blancos: Courtois, Militão, Bellingham and Vinicius. Only a priori, because Ancelotti has not been able to field the four players together in an official match yet. Since the start of the season Carletto has had to make do without a ‘security corridor’.

Bellingham eyeing return

Out of all of the injuries affecting his squad, Jude Bellingham’s is fortunately, only temporary. An awkward fall during the league game against Rayo Vallecano, on 5 November, caused him to dislocate his shoulder. Amazingly, he was able to complete the match; but as soon as the adrenaline wore off, the affected zone flared up, forcing him to take things slower. He was rested in the following game against Braga, which he watched from the bench, and, as a precaution, he was dropped from the squad for the next match against Valencia. Even so, Jude still had to travel to England so that the FA doctors could give him his discharge note. He received it a day later than expected and is now working in Valdebebas in an attempt to be declared fit for Sunday’s match against Cádiz. His importance to the team goes without saying: 13 goals and three assists in 14 games and a collection of MVPs since Day One.

Vini blow

The latest setback was a painful one: Vinicius. Like Jude, he was expected to return to club duties after the international break, but instead fell foul to the dreaded ‘FIFA virus’. Vini hobbled out of Brazil’s World Cup qualifier against Colombia on 26 minutes. Afterwards, the player openly expressed his fears that he had suffered a serious injury and subsequent tests proved him right.

A medical exam carried out in Madrid detected an injury to his left hamstring - and a two and a half month lay-off, which means he will miss the Spanish Super Cup (10-14 January). He has set the derby against Atleti on 4 February 4 as his objective to return. It’s an important blow for Vinicius who was in bullish form after his brace against Valencia - his fifth and sixth goals of the season. The seventh will have to wait.

Courtois and Militão both succumbed to long-term injuries at the start of the campaign. Both players’ recoveries are going well, but there will be no rush to bring them back ahead of time. The goalkeeper and the defender suffered similar injuries - torn cruciate ligaments in their left knees, just two days apart. In a practice match to prepare for the game against Athletic Club at San Mamés, the Belgian keeper heard a fateful cracking sound. And during the game in Bilbao, the Brazilian defender pulled up while tracking Oihan Sancet at the start of the second half. He left the stadium in tears. In the best of cases, they could return in the final stretch of the season.

Radiografía del Real Madrid esta temporada.
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Radiografía del Real Madrid esta temporada.BeSoccer Pro

At the moment, Bellingham is the least of Ancelotti’s worries - the midfielder has only missed two games, but Vinicius has already missed four and could potentially sit out another nine; Courtois and Militão meanwhile have been left (almost) out for the whole season. Ancelotti, with the corridor in ruins has managed to mitigate the blow - the team has registered four wins from four in the Champions League and is already safely through to the next round while in LaLiga, Madrid are just two points behind leaders Girona. But tougher challenges are on the horizon - including the first title of the season, with only one (Jude) of his four main vertebrae available...

Así continúa la recuperación de Thibaut Courtois
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Thibaut Courtois on the road to recovery

Team’s vertical column broken

And all this is amplified by the rest of the absentees as the infirmary fills up. Tchouameni, up until his metatarsal injury, was practically immovable for Ancelotti. He is expected to return in mid-December and Carletto has found a short-term remedy in Camavinga. The problem? He returned prematurely from the international break with a tear to the external lateral ligament in his right knee and is out until the Super Cup at least.

That leaves an engine room with Toni Kroos as the only available pivot - even though that’s not his natural position. Even Kepa, who was an emergency signing to alleviate Courtois’s absence, was injured warming up against Braga and will not return until the end of the month (either for the Napoli game on Wednesday the 29th or Granada, in the league on 2 December. On top of that, Dani Ceballos is struggling to overcome his physical problems, Güler who longs to make his debut but keeps falling injured... Ancelotti not only has his spine cracked, but the bench is looking thinner every day. For now, he has managed to handle the situation.