Real Madrid News
Thibaut Courtois has been ruled out of Real Madrid vs Barcelona
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 News
Argentine manager in pole position for Real Madrid job if Ancelotti leaves
According to a report from journalist Jorge C Picon, former Tottenham Hotspur and PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is in pole position to become the next manager of Real Madrid, if Carlo Ancelotti leaves at the end of the season.
Ancelotti’s topic has become a topic of much debate and discussion over the past few weeks. The Italian tactician has a contract that runs until next year and has stated that he wishes to see it out.
However, the team’s failure to win any major title this season could end up spelling trouble or the 63-year-old. The La Liga title looks like a lost cause already while Real Madrid are in a disadvantageous position in Copa del Rey as well.
The UEFA Champions League remains Ancelotti’s best bet to win a trophy this season. Should he do so, the Italian could continue at Real Madrid or even possibly sign a new contract extension.
But, failure to land the trophy could end his second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu and Pochettino is said to be the frontrunner for the position in that case.
The Argentine is currently unemployed after being sacked by PSG in July last year. The 51-year-old did not have the most memorable of stints in Paris but his stock has not diminished in the Real Madrid offices, who had considered appointing him once before as well.
Thomas Tuchel was also a candidate for Real Madrid and talks were also held with him. But, the club informed him that if Ancelotti won the UCL, he would stay on, which played a part in the German signing for Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, club legend Raul Gonzalez, who is currently the manager of Real Madrid Castilla, is also a candidate, but is seen only as Plan B, with Pochettino very much the frontrunner at this point.
A lot will depend on how the rest of the season pans out and whether Ancelotti is able to lead Real Madrid to back-to-back Champions League triumphs.