During Real Madrid’s Champions League opener against Celtic, Karim Benzema was forced off the pitch with a knee problem in the 30th minute.
With the French international instant limping after feeling the strain, Carlo Ancelotti decided to replace him by bringing Eden Hazard on.
After the European champions’ failed pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe this summer, Madridistas have been clamouring for the arrival of a brand-new forward, considering the overdependence on Benzema as well as Vinicius Jr. for goals.
In addition, the former started in 43 games across both La Liga and the Champions League in the previous term, which has meant that the club were in dire need for getting a backup in place for the talismanic goalscorer to ease his burden due to a number of factors.
So far this season, the former Lyon frontman has played every minute for the Spanish giants in the league as well.
Ultimately, Carlo Ancelotti will have his fingers crossed that the injury to Karim Benzema is not serious, as that could hamper Real Madrid’s season as a whole instantly.
Key Real Madrid defender still not 100% fit ahead of Club World Cup semi-final – report
Carlo Ancelotti heads into the FIFA Club World Cup in a pressure cooker situation. The pressure on the manager’s shoulders is immense, for his job could be on the line after Real Madrid’s poor run of form.
The injury situation does not favour the Italian tactician either. Lucas Vazquez, Ferland Mendy, Karim Benzema, Eder Militao and even Thibaut Courtois are out of the semi-final against Al Ahly, leaving him very few options to play with.
According to reports from Jorge C Picon, David Alaba too is not completely fit yet. The Austrian International was given the medical all-clear and entered the squad for Real Madrid’s game against Mallorca, yet started on the bench as he was not at 100%, and that remains the case ahead of tonight’s clash.
The report, however, adds that his mere inclusion in the squad comes as a breather for Ancelotti. Alaba is highly valued by the technical staff, not only for his reading of the game on the field but also for his leadership.
The defender has already missed seven games for Los Blancos since sustaining a muscular injury against Villarreal at La Ceramica. He did indeed come off the bench for under half an hour against Mallorca, but will likely not be risked to start on Thursday.
In his absence, Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger are expected to take centre stage in defence in Morocco. Eduardo Camavinga, meanwhile, could start as left-back again.
Alaba has played 17 games for Los Blancos this season and was one of the players with the most minutes until his injury. In his league campaign so far, he has scored one goal and provided three assists while also averaging a key pass every ninety minutes.
It remains to be seen if the Austrian recovers completely in time for the Club World Cup final should the European Champions make it. As it stands, using a cautious approach is in Real Madrid’s best interest.