Antonio Rudiger was as close to returning to action as he could ahead of the clash against Girona. The Real Madrid centre-back was on the verge of a comeback and was even named on the squad list to take on the Catalan side.
Earlier today, however, the club confirmed that the German star had suffered a setback in his recovery. A new muscular injury thus ruled him out of action for the game against Girona, and even the coming weeks.
Duration of his absence revealed
Now, according to reports from Fabrizio Romano, the prognosis around the Rudiger’s setback is not entirely poor.
Real Madrid expect him to return to action in the month of February, with the layoff period currently standing at around two weeks.
If the Italian journalist’s estimate is to be believed, Rudiger will miss three, or possibly four clashes for Real Madrid this month.
The German centre-back is definitively ruled out for the games against RB Leipzig and Rayo Vallecano while his participation against Sevilla at the month’s end will be subject to his recovery status.
With David Alaba and Eder Militao still not close to a return to the field, Carlo Ancelotti will have his work cut out for him through February to maintain tranquillity in the team’s defence.
After all, Rudiger’s injury leaves him with just no fit centre-back at this time as Nacho Fernandez himself is battling against the clock to return in time for the UCL clash against RB Leipzig.
If Nacho is ready to face the Germans next week, the manager will likely deploy Aurelien Tchouameni as his defensive partner.
Nevertheless, the situation is far from rosy for Los Blancos heading into a critical period. One can only hope for speedy recoveries for the injured players, especially the team’s German wall in Rudiger.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.