Real Madrid were dealt a blow ahead of their colossal Champions League semi-final clash with Manchester City as key midfielder Dani Ceballos picked up an untimely thigh injury.
The 25-year-old Spaniard, who has cemented himself as a crucial cog in Carlo Ancelotti’s well-oiled midfield engine this season, limped out of training yesterday with an overloaded thigh muscle according to reports.
While the injury is not thought to be overly serious, the condensed fixture schedule means Ceballos is now a major doubt for Tuesday’s mouth-watering first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The cultured playmaker was pivotal in Los Blancos’ Copa del Rey final triumph over Osasuna last weekend but had to settle for a place on the bench after pulling up in the pre-match warm-up.
Ancelotti will be sweating on the fitness of his midfield metronome ahead of the visit of Pep Guardiola’s Premier League table-toppers, who brushed aside Leeds United at the weekend to remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple.
The Italian tactician may now be forced to reshuffle his pack, with Fede Valverde potentially dropping deeper to fill the void left by Ceballos. Valverde has predominantly featured on the right flank in recent matches but is equally adept in a central role.
Rodrygo’s matchwinning brace in Seville has also given Ancelotti food for thought, as the prodigious Brazilian forward seems to have played his way into contention for a starting berth against the Cityzens.
The 21-year-old has been in scintillating form of late and could get the nod over Eden Hazard or Marco Asensio on the left-hand side of Real’s attack.
Fitness Concern for Dani Ceballos
Ceballos will now target a cameo appearance in this weekend’s La Liga tussle with Getafe as he looks to prove his fitness ahead of the return leg at the Etihad Stadium the following week.
Los Merengues will be desperate to have their midfield magician back pulling the strings as they go toe-to-toe with a City side in the midst of a record-breaking season.