The 2023/24 season has been a difficult one for Real Madrid as far as injuries and fitness issues are concerned.
A number of important players have had spells out on the sidelines in the first three months of the campaign, with some still away on the treatment tables.
Eder Militao and Thibaut Courtois are the long-term injury absentees for Real Madrid and are expected to return sometime in the latter stages of the season, once they recover from their ACL ruptures.
Meanwhile, Arda Guler, Aurelien Tchouameni, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Dani Ceballos, and star man Jude Bellingham are also dealing with injury issues.
Three players to return vs Cadiz
Now, AS has come out with a report providing information about the possible return dates for the injured Real Madrid players.
As per the update, three players – Bellingham, Kepa, and Ceballos, are expected to be back right after the international break and be ready in time to face Cadiz.
Bellingham suffered a dislocated shoulder during the match against Rayo Vallecano a little over a week ago and missed the subsequent games vs SC Braga and Valencia.
The 20-year-old was called up by the England national team for their matches during this international break, but earlier today, the Three Lions released Bellingham, who will now return to Madrid and continue his recovery.
As for Kepa, the goalkeeper suffered an injury during the warm-up before the SC Braga clash. Much like Bellingham, his recovery time was also anticipated for about two weeks, which means he would be ready against Cadiz.
Meanwhile, Ceballos is currently recovering from his second injury of the season. Even though it was expected that he would be back in early November, it did not turn out to be the case and he is now expected to be back vs Cadiz.
Tchouameni, Guler after Christmas break
The most frustrating situation has been that of Arda Guler, who has still not played a single game for Real Madrid since joining in the summer.
The Turkish prodigy has suffered his third injury of the season already, and the club plan on taking things slow with him, meaning he will not be rushed back.
As such, fans might have to wait until after the mid-season Christmas break to see the teenager in action.
The same will likely hold true for Aurelien Tchouameni, who is recovering from a fractured foot that he suffered during the Clasico win.
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.