Just a while ago, reports from several media outlets claimed that Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been ruled out of El Clasico against Barcelona this weekend.
The 29-year-old did not train with the rest of the group earlier today and it was believed that he will not be ready in time to face the Blaugrana at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday afternoon.
However, manager Carlo Ancelotti has now claimed that the Belgian international could still be in contention to feature against the La Liga leaders as he had ‘good feelings’ in training today.
As quoted by Serge Quirante of DAZN, Ancelotti said: “Courtois trained today, he felt good and tomorrow they will have another test.”
This comes in complete contrast to earlier reports and offers Madridistas a glimmer of hope that Courtois could still feature when Barcelona come to town.
The 29-year-old has been a clutch performer for Real Madrid over the past year, and had a huge hand in their La Liga and UEFA Champions League triumphs in the 2021/22 campaign.
While he may have not kept a single clean sheet in La Liga this season, the Belgian international had still made key contributions, up until his injury.
As informed by Ancelotti, the former Chelsea goalkeeper will be subjected to more tests tomorrow before his availability for the blockbuster clash on Sunday can be determined.
If he is not passed fit, Andriy Lunin is all set to line up between the sticks for the reigning La Liga champions. The Ukrainian has started in each of Real Madrid’s last four matches in all competitions, but a Clasico will be a whole new experience for the young custodian.
Real Madrid manager facing some selection dilemmas ahead of Granada clash
The recent successes of Real Madrid in La Liga as well as the Champions League pay a testament to the club’s high level of quality this season; but manage to look even more impressive considering Carlo Ancelotti has been shorthanded with an influx of injuries.
Despite crucial absences, the Merengues have not let injury-related setbacks hamper their ambitions for the season.
Still, it is clear Real Madrid are walking on a tightrope with such a thin squad amid all these injuries, and thus minimizing the risk of any more unexpected misfortunes will be key.
Ancelotti faces a dilemma
Now, according to Mundo Deportivo, the Italian coach is facing a predicament: he can either utilize his starters in the next game or chart a pragmatic course and rest them to prevent any physical problems.
Ancelotti is tossing up whether to rest some players or keep “squeezing” them in because they do not have a midweek game the following week due to cup commitments.
The players in question are Antonio Rudiger, Federico Valverde, and Rodrygo. They have all been crucial to Ancleotti’s team this season.
But they have also played a significant number of minutes over the past month due to their respective teams’ needs.
The likes of Valverde and Rodrygo currently maintain an indispensable role in the team, especially following their recent performances.
After Luka Modric’s injury, who is doubtful to play Granada, Valverde’s presence will be all the more vital.
Furthermore, Rodrygo has played exceptionally well in his last two encounters, despite worries about his knee injury.
As such, his demotion to the bench would not be a wise move in his current form, especially with Jude Bellingham’s involvement also in doubt.
Time will tell how Ancelotti approaches the next few games. With the threat of injuries always looming large, he will potentially be compelled to make some sacrifices to the XI.