Spanish publication MARCA has affirmed that veteran Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal will miss the upcoming Madrid derby as he has not recovered from the muscle injury he suffered a few days ago.
Carvajal, who starred in Real Madrid’s 2-1 home win over Real Sociedad, was absent from the matchday squad for the opening UEFA Champions League group stage game against Union Berlin earlier this week.
This morning, Carvajal underwent an MRI, and based on the test results, it appears that the 31-year-old has not recovered sufficiently enough.
As such, the defender will not be available for the match against Atletico Madrid, removing any doubts about his participation.
What happened to Carvajal
While the 31-year-old defender looked fine against Sociedad, he missed the training ahead of the Champions League opener due to a muscle injury, prompting Carlo Ancelotti to use Lucas Vazquez as his right-back.
“Carvajal has an overload, we prefer not to take any risks. It’s nothing serious, he’ll undergo tests tomorrow and we hope he recovers soon. Carvajal can make it to the derby. The feelings are good,” the manager had said prior to the UCL encounter.
The initial assessment did suggest the 31-year-old would be available for the derby, but the defender has not fully recovered yet, meaning that Ancelotti will once again have to look for options.
What are Ancelotti’s options?
Since Carvajal is unavailable, Ancelotti is expected to rely on Vazquez once again to step in as the right-back against Atletico Madrid this Sunday.
Additionally, in case of necessity, captain Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger are also capable of taking up the right-back position for Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, the manager also has the promising youngster Vinicius Tobias as an alternative. The young Brazilian has been training with the senior team of late, but it is highly unlikely that the Italian would present him in such a big game.
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.