In a bitter blow for Real Madrid, first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been ruled out of El Clasico against Barcelona on Sunday afternoon.
This report comes from MARCA after the Belgian was not spotted in training with the rest of the team earlier today.
Courtois has not played a single game for Real Madrid since the international break as he has been suffering from sciatica. As a result, he has not played against Osasuna, Getafe and the double-header versus Shakhtar Donetsk.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti had insisted earlier this week that he expected the Belgian goalkeeper to return to training this Thursday. However, the 29-year-old was not seen back yesterday and he has not been spotted today either.
The recovery has seemingly not progressed at the expected speed and Courtois’ involvement for the Clasico depended on how he felt today. But with the former Chelsea ace not back in training it is clear that he is still not ready to make a return to on-field action.
It has now effectively ruled him out of perhaps Real Madrid’s biggest match of the ongoing campaign. With Courtois unavailable, the pressure will be on Andriy Lunin to step up and deliver for the reigning champions of Spain and Europe on Sunday at the Bernabeu.
While Courtois is set to miss out, there is some positive for Real Madrid as Antonio Rudiger was back in training. The German defender picked up a nasty facial injury against Shakhtar, but has seemingly recovered and was spotted training with his teammates without a mask.
That is indeed good news for Ancelotti & co., but the absence of Courtois will be a blow given how the Belgian has always come up clutch in the biggest of matches over the past year.
With Ancelotti regarding the upcoming El Clasico as a final, having the Belgian shot-stopper would have been a huge confidence-booster. But, Real Madrid will now have to make do without their No. 1 on Sunday when Barcelona visit.
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.