It has been a difficult season for Real Madrid as far as the injuries and fitness problems are concerned.
Even though the team has been performing well on the field, Carlo Ancelotti & co. have had to deal with various injury problems in the first third of the 2023/24 campaign.
Real Madrid currently have as many as eight stars out on the sidelines due to injuries which is a cause for concern for the manager.
With a slew of important fixtures coming up after the international break, Mundo Deportivo provides an update on the injured Real Madrid stars and their potential return dates.
The first-choice goalkeeper ruptured his ACL before the start of the season, prompting Real Madrid to sign a replacement in the form of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
It has been reported that Courtois, who underwent surgery for his injury, could be sidelined for about seven to nine months, putting his return date sometime towards the end of the season, possibly in April 2024.
The man brought in on loan to replace Thibaut Courtois also succumbed to a thigh injury earlier this month, just before Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League clash against SC Braga.
Having missed the subsequent La Liga fixture against Valencia as well, Kepa is expected to be out for two weeks, meaning he could come back towards the end of November soon after the international break ends.
Another ACL injury absentee, Eder Militao ruptured his knee ligament in Real Madrid’s opening game of the season against Athletic Club.
However, it has been reported that the Brazilian’s recovery is progressing very well and he is working hard to cut short his return time. Even then, it is believed that he could make a comeback around March or April 2024.
Real Madrid’s midfield general is recovering from a fractured foot that he sustained during the team’s 2-1 win over arch-rivals Barcelona.
Tchouameni’s recovery time is expected to be somewhere around two months and it is expected that the Frenchman will only return after the Christmas break, meaning he might not play again in 2023.
Having already missed the start of the campaign due to a pre-season injury, Ceballos sustained another injury soon after his comeback and is still recovering from the thigh problem.
The Spaniard has resumed light training during the ongoing international break and is likely to return to action towards the end of this month.
The latest addition to Real Madrid’s list of casualties, Camavinga suffered from a sprain in his right knee earlier this week while training with his France teammates.
It was initially presumed that the issue was not serious, but more tests raised concerns and the Frenchman is now returning to Madrid, with initial tests indicating that he could be out for eight weeks, meaning he would not play again in 2023.
Perhaps the least serious issue on the list happens to be that of Jude Bellingham, who suffered from a dislocated shoulder during the game against Rayo Vallecano leading to him missing the games versus Braga and Valencia.
Even though he had travelled to England to play for his national team, the midfielder was released by the Three Lions after carrying out additional tests. The 20-year-old has trained after returning to Spain and is expected to be ready after the international break.
The Turkish wonderkid has endured a difficult start at Real Madrid, having picked up three injuries since arriving in the summer, with the latest being a quadriceps issue he suffered earlier this month.
It is expected that Guler will be out until mid-December, although given that the Merengues do not want to take any risks with him, he could also return in 2024.
Rodrygo, Ceballos start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Napoli
Real Madrid will be eager to lock down the top spot in Group C of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League when they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow night.
Los Blancos are already through to the knockout stages of the competition, having won each of their four matches so far, and have a five-point lead over second-placed Napoli.
A win or a draw tomorrow would ensure Carlo Ancelotti & co. progress through as the group winners, irrespective of what happens in their final game against Union Berlin next month.
The injury list, though, continues to grow for Real Madrid as Luka Modric has joined the seven other casualties – Vinicius Jr., Eduardo Camavinga, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Arda Guler, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois.
It has forced Ancelotti to dip into the academy reserves and call up young talents like Nico Paz, Mario Martin, Gonzalo Garcia, and Theo Zidane, the son of club Zinedine Zidane.
There will be some changes made to the team that took the field against Cadiz last time out and here’s how Real Madrid could line up against Walter Mazzarri’s Napoli.
With Kepa Arrizabalaga still not ready, Andriy Lunin will once again get a starter in between the sticks for Real Madrid and will be eager to carry forward his good run of form.
Dani Carvajal should continue at right-back ahead of Lucas Vazquez, who will get an opportunity in the coming games with Ancelotti expected to rotate. Ferland Mendy is also expected to retain his place at left-back ahead of Fran Garcia.
David Alaba should return to the starting XI after featuring from the bench against Cadiz. He will pair up with Antonio Rudiger and try to keep the dangerous Victor Osimhen quiet, provided the latter is fit to feature.
Given the lack of resources in midfield, Ancelotti has no choice but to continue with Toni Kroos at the base of the four-man diamond formation while star man Jude Bellingham, who had tormented Napoli in the reverse fixture, starts at the tip.
Dani Ceballos is all set to make his first start of the season as one of the interior midfielders, replacing the injured Modric. Federico Valverde will be the fourth man in the middle for Real Madrid against the Partenopei.
Up top, there is simply no looking past Rodrygo Goes, who is starting to hit top form in recent weeks. The Brazilian will once again likely be paired up with Joselu in the absence of Vinicius Jr.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy, Kroos, Valverde, Ceballos, Bellingham, Joselu, Rodrygo.
Brahim Diaz is back fit after missing the Cadiz game due to illness and he is expected to get some minutes off the bench as Ancelotti would look to give a breather to Rodrygo or Bellingham.
Gonzalo Garcia made his first-team debut for Real Madrid this past weekend and could get his Champions League bow as a late sub against Napoli while fellow academy aces Nico Paz and Mario Martin could also get some minutes in midfield.