David Alaba’s poor injury record for Real Madrid this season
It is already the second-highest number of injuries he has ever suffered in a single season and has travelled to Austria for medical advice.
Alaba is here, but he’s not. Last season he was the third-highest player in the squad in terms of minutes, playing in 81%; this time he is 11th, having played just over half. That’s almost half a season out. A victim of two injuries that have turned into present-dat threats, it is the second-highest season in his career in terms of being a season-ticket holder to the club infirmary: 13 games on the sidelines.
One has to rewind the VHS almost a decade to find his most injury-plagued season: in 2014-15 (yes, that is almost 10 years ago, I know), he partially tore his MCL (medial collateral ligament) in his knee and underwent surgery, missing 23 games. But apart from that, Alaba had ducked and dived around injuries with enough flair to make a pro boxer jealous. Until this season, which has been a tiny slice of hell for the player.
Alaba ‘The Undroppable’
He started the season as an undroppable player, playing the first 22 consecutive games, going without rest until Cacereño in the Copa del Rey. He played through El Clásico, Champions League matches and the Super Cup... he was a guaranteed starter in every game, despite the fact that the question hovered over summer regarding his position and a potential new left-back. Nope. The defender formed a strong partnership alongside Militão and had even forced new signing Rüdiger to wait for his moment.
But after that trip to Cacereño, the problems started to arise. He played 90 minutes against Villarreal with a strange smell surrounding his performance. Days later his injury was confirmed in his right calf (seven games out, including the Super Cup). He returned for the Club World Cup and three games later, at Anfield, he was injured again. In total, he has missed 13 games due to injury (31%).
Is Alaba in Austria... to play?
The answer is maybe... probably. He has not trained for an entire month, instead working with physios and doctors in order to speed up his recovery process. He was already on the final straight and his return was due to come after the international break, until the plan was changed for the good. A visit to Camp Nou is a bit of a rush, but what is certain is that at the weekend the player felt no pain and this Monday, he was cleared as fit to play.
The doctors, as a result, recommended that he travel, not just given the green light to do so. He was told to use this week as a final week in his recovery process, and has joined up with the squad. “He is a great example of a captain”, said Rangnick, the Austria National Team manager, “these next few days are a ticking clock for him”. He is not available for the game against Azerbaijan but the idea is for him to return against Estonia.
Fighting for his place in the Madrid side
The Austrian has Nacho hot on his heels in terms of minutes played in the Madrid squad (2,212 vs 1,955) but he is fixed on the date of 2 April, the return of LaLiga. If no unwanted surprises happen, he will be Madrid’s 4th centre-back. Until today, Alaba has played 57% of Madrid’s minutes this season and he has lost 31% due to injury. It is a slice of hell for him that, fortunately, is coming to and end.
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