Injury crisis leaves Real Madrid with 11 outfield men for Champions League tie

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has been dealt a major injury crisis ahead of their Champions League clash with Atalanta on Wednesday night – with only 11 of his senior outfield players available for the game.

Los Blancos are set to make the trip to Bergamo, Italy, for the first leg of their crucial last-16 showdown with the Serie A club.

But Zidane heads into the match with a staggering nine players on his injury list: Marcelo, Eder Militao, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Odriozola, Dani Carvajal, Federico Valverde, Eden Hazard, Rodrygo and Karim Benzema.

He has therefore been forced to include five players from Madrid’s Castilla side in his squad for their meeting with Atalanta.

Left-back Miguel Gutierrez, centre-back Victor Chust, midfielders Sergio Arribas and Antonio Blanco, and striker Hugo Duro are all making the trip to Italy on Wednesday.

Real have struggled with injuries throughout the campaign, accumulating a total of 41 problems this season.

Benzema, who has scored 17 goals in all competitions, is their most significant absentee for Wednesday’s game after picking up a knock in training.

Hazard’s latest injury setback also came as a serious blow to Zidane earlier this month, with the former Chelsea man set to spend another month on the sidelines with a thigh problem.

His first season at the Bernabeu was disrupted by fitness problems, and he has followed that frustrating year up by sustaining three separate injuries in the current campaign.

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  • As for captain Ramos, he was forced to undergo surgery earlier this month for a knee injury that will keep him out of action for another five weeks.

    Zidane’s injury nightmare comes as at an awful time in their season, with their Champions League outing against Atalanta coming before La Liga meetings with Real Sociedad and leaders Atletico Madrid.

    Los Blancos are three points behind Atletico having played a game more than their Madrid rivals, who could extend the gap to six points at the top by winning their game-in-hand against Athletic Bilbao on March 10.

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