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Injury update: Real Madrid midfielder set to return for Man City second leg

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Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Veteran midfielder Luka Modric handed Real Madrid a massive blow after picking an untimely injury which is expected to keep him out of action until the UEFA Champions League semi-final first-leg clash against Manchester City.

While his absence will certainly be felt, ABC News has reported that he will be available for the return leg, scheduled on Wednesday, May 17 at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Modric was seen icing his left thigh after coming off in the second half against Girona and speaking ahead of the upcoming Almeria clash, manager Carlo Ancelotti said it is too early to speak of his return.

“He got injured against Girona and I don’t know if he will make it to the cup final. We must evaluate him. We’re hurting, but it can happen. Hopefully, we’ll have him for the important games that are left.”

As it turns out, he has a hamstring tear and will take as many as two weeks to recover. 

During this course, he will miss some important games, including the upcoming home league game against Almeria, an away game against Real Sociedad, the Copa de Rey final against Osasuna and of course the UCL semi-final first leg against Manchester City.

Given the forecast of his return, the possibility of him returning to action would be on Saturday, May 13 when Madrid host Getafe. But given the magnitude of the Man City game, it is highly unlikely that the manager will take any risk with his veteran midfielder.

For now, it is understood that the Croatian will not force his return in order to avoid a relapse. He is currently focusing on recovery so that he could return to face Manchester City in the second leg with full guarantees. Until then, he will sit out and watch his team from the sideline.

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Camavinga, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to get a step closer to lifting the La Liga title when they face off against FC Barcelona later tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid are currently seated atop the league table, eight points clear of Barça in second place. And another win tonight would stretch the lead to 11 points, all but guaranteeing their coronation as Spanish champions.

It will not be easy with Barcelona motivated after their defeat against PSG in the UEFA Champions League while fatigue could also be a factor after Los Blancos toiled it out for 120 minutes against Man City earlier this week.

Heading into the game, Real Madrid have one fitness concern as Ferland Mendy did not train on Saturday due to some overload in his left leg, although he was included in the squad list by Carlo Ancelotti.

Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba are the only injury-enforced absentees for the league leaders and here’s how Real Madrid could line up tonight against Xavi Hernandez’s side.

Starters

Fresh off his penalty shootout heroics against Manchester City, Andriy Lunin will guard Real Madrid’s goal again and hope to help his team to another crucial victory.

Antonio Rudiger has been in brilliant form this season and is a guaranteed starter at the heart of the Merengues’ defence. The German international should pair up with club captain Nacho Fernandez to stop Robert Lewandowski & co.

Even though there has been some chatter about Lucas Vazquez starting at right-back, Dani Carvajal is expected to get the nod as usual.

Mendy’s possible absence, however, could pave the way for Eduardo Camavinga to start at left-back for Real Madrid, with Ancelotti likely to trust the French midfielder in a makeshift role over Fran Garcia.

Camavinga could fill in at left-back. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni is back after missing the Manchester City game through suspension and will slot in as the defensive midfielder against Barcelona.

Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos will take up the two interior midfield positions for Real Madrid while Jude Bellingham will operate as the lone attacking midfielder.

However, it will not be a surprise to see Real Madrid transition into a 4-4-2 with Valverde and Bellingham moving out wide on the right and left flanks, respectively.

Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. are the undisputed starters up top in attack, with the former likely to operate from the left after his recent success while the latter will play slightly more centrally.

Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Camavinga, Tchouameni, Valverde, Kroos, Bellingham, Vinicius, Rodrygo.

Substitutes

Brahim Diaz and Luka Modric are players that Carlo Ancelotti counts on from the bench for every game and that will not change tonight against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Joselu is also an option that Ancelotti could turn to if he wished to change things up in the attacking unit.

Eder Militao could also get some minutes, depending on the game situation, as Ancelotti hopes to get the Brazilian into match-rhythm in time to face Bayern Munich.

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