Real Madrid played out a goalless draw against local rivals Rayo Vallecano on Sunday night, squandering a great opportunity to reclaim the top spot in La Liga.
Despite creating several opportunities, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were unable to breach their opponents’ goal at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the result now leaving them in second place in the table behind Girona.
Not only were Los Blancos left disappointed with the result, but they were also handed a couple of concerns after the Vallecano clash.
For starters, main man Jude Bellingham suffered an injury scare early in the game as he hurt his shoulder after a fall and will undergo further tests today.
Another blow for Real Madrid was Antonio Rudiger’s late yellow card against Rayo Vallecano.
The former Chelsea centre-half was booked late in stoppage time after he got into an altercation with Vallecano defender Florian Lejeune.
As it turned out, though, the yellow card was Rudiger’s fifth of the season in La Liga, which means that the German international will now serve an automatic one-match suspension for accumulation of cards.
As such, Rudiger will now miss Real Madrid’s next game against Valencia in La Liga, leaving Ancelotti with just David Alaba and Nacho Fernandez as options in the centre-back department.
This certainly comes as a blow given that Rudiger has been a permanent fixture in defence this season for the Merengues and has churned out some brilliant displays.
With Alaba having had a mixed campaign thus far and Nacho not playing regularly, it could become a slight issue for Real Madrid when they face Valencia.
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.