Q&A: Real Madrid's injury crisis will force Zidane into the youth team

Real Madrid have a major injury crisis with Zidane having to turn to the youth team for tonight’s LaLiga clash with Getafe… but who is missing, why were fringe players allowed to leave in January and can the kids REALLY step up when it matters most?

  • Real Madrid host Getafe tonight in LaLiga without a host of their first-team stars
  • Zinedine Zidane has only 12 fit senior players, missing both Ramos and Hazard
  • He will have to turn to the club’s youth team to add some depth to his ranks 
  • But how did this happen, who are they missing and why were players let go? 

Real Madrid are struggling to cobble together a team for Tuesday night’s rearranged LaLiga game with Getafe.

Zinedine Zidane has only 12 fit senior players so his bench will include seven youth team stars. This is the club that used to boast the most expensively-assembled squad on the planet at the start of every season.

Sportsmail asks if bad luck or bad planning is behind the current situation.

Zinedine Zidane is facing an injury crisis at Real Madrid ahead of tonight’s game against Getafe


Zidane is without two of his first-team starters, Eden Hazard (left) and Sergio Ramos (right)

Who’s out? 

Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Rodrygo, Fede Valverde, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are all missing.

Just one more defender and a keeper and that would be a whole team. And Toni Kroos is suspended for Tuesday night’s game.

Why?

Both Zidane and Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman have spoken about burn-out from too many games after a short pre-season. ‘We are killing the players,’ Koeman said last week.

Asked if he agreed Zidane said: ‘the fixture list is crazy’. 

The players are certainly suffering since lockdown last March. They came back having had to train in a reduced mini pre-season in small groups or alone because of the pandemic.

There was then a much shorter break between the end of last season and the start of this albeit with the plus that they were spared a pre-season tour across the globe.

Rodrygo, Fede Valverde, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola, Dani Carvajal (left) and Lucas Vazquez (right) are all also on the sidelines to majorly deplete the first team squad available to Zidane

Are questions being asked about training methods or the coach? 

Many clubs are in a similar situation so there is not much logic to criticising coaching fitness staff at any one club. Coronavirus has played a role too.

Players self-isolating after positive results lose fitness levels. Some have even come back with lingering symptoms. 

Diego Costa had deep vein thrombosis after returning from quarantine when he was still at Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao full-back Yuri Berchiche complained of dizziness after he returned.

There have been no such cases at Madrid reported but various players have had the virus.

But the current injury list is not directly related to the pandemic?

No. 

Lucas has a knock, Hazard and Rodrygo thigh problems, Valverde and Carvajal hamstring issues, Isco back pain and Ramos knee trouble.

But volume of games brought about by the pandemic squeezing the season may have indirectly led to some of those injuries, especially the muscle complaints.

The congestion of this pandemic-hit campaign is now starting to catch up with footballers

Why are Real fielding FIVE kids on the bench? Is this also about a lack of depth? 

They bought no one last summer and no one in January.

Now it seems they have decided to cash in on Raphael Varane this summer if he doesn’t sign a new contract just so as not to let him leave for free in 2022. They have also not been able to agree new contracts for Lucas and Ramos.

They anticipate €90million (£79m) losses at the end of this season if there are not across the board wage cuts but they have still not been agreed.

The financial situation did not lend itself to fattening up the squad in January, either. In fact Martin Odegaard and Luka Jovic were allowed to go out on loan.

Martin Odegaard (pictured) and Luka Jovic both went out on loan when the squad was short

Which now seems daft…

Even before the injury list lengthened it did not seem to make a lot of sense to allow potentially invaluable squad players to spend the second half of the campaign elsewhere.

Then again if Arsenal are paying around €3m (£2.6m) for the privilege that may go some way to explaining it.

Presumably not every player’s situation is the same? 

Hazard and Ramos are definitely cases apart. There have been whispers that Ramos has chosen this time to have surgery on his cartilage because Madrid are not giving him the new contract he feel he deserves.

This has been strongly denied, not just by Ramos’ camp but by the club whose medical staff insist the player could not go on any longer without surgery.

Hazard meanwhile is turning into Gareth Bale II – hugely expensive, frequently unavailable, but so far without the trophies that Bale managed in Spain.

But increasingly the view is that while it was fair game to criticise Hazard for turning up overweight in his first season, it’s now just seen as awful luck that he cannot shake off the physical problems. 

Hazard is turning into Gareth Bale II but is getting some sympathy for his injury woes in Spain

Who do the club miss most? 

With a fit Hazard and Ramos, Madrid become candidates for the Champions League and are maybe not out of the LaLiga title race.

Carvajal and Valverde are also sorely missed. For now Varane, Luka Modric, Kroos, Casemiro and Karim Benzema are keeping the team afloat.

Will the kids called upon be able to step up? 

It’s been eight years since a player still playing for the youth team scored a league goal – that was Alvaro Morata for Jose Mourinho in the 2012-13 season.

There is always talent coming through and Sergio Arribas, Victor Chust, Miguel Gutierrez, Antonio Blanco and Marvin Park are all highly related, but none would be getting game time at this stage of the season if it were not for the current crisis.


Zidane may have to turn to the likes of Sergio Arribas (left) and Victor Chust (right) to fill in


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