Carvajal retires injured this Sunday against Valencia.Quality Sport Images / EL PAÍS
From the gloomy face of Zinedine Zidane, no one could guess that Madrid had just achieved one of the most placid victories of a very complex course against Valencia . The balance of physical mishaps in the white team does not give, of course, for any joy. The data are very resounding: Valdebebas's dressing room has suffered more than twice the injuries (38) this season than Atlético's (15) and a handful more than Barcelona's (25), his two rivals in the fight for the title of LaLiga and with a similar rhythm of competition
The situation for the French coach is critical at a very delicate moment, ten days before the eighth of the Champions League against Atalanta, the team's last real hope of saving a campaign that hangs on a thread. Carvajal's fourth mishap since September, down for at least another month and a half, was the last straw for the whites. "I don't know why this is happening, I don't understand," Zizou managed to say. Waiting if he can recover some cash for next Saturday in Valladolid, at the moment he only has 11 players from the first squad – just enough to set up a line-up with each one in their place -, the two substitute goalkeepers (Lunin and Altube) and two field relays (Isco and Mariano), which are not, precisely, the best considered by him at this point in the year. Even a youth squad like Marvin , an emergency resource against Getafe, fell on the day of his debut as a starter.
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Of Madrid's 38 injuries, the vast majority are muscular character. The reasons for this clinical picture are unknown and almost impossible to know. ZZ has alleged several times as a hypothesis, also this Sunday, that the calendar tightening due to the pandemic prevented him from carrying out a normal preseason, although this aggravation affected Barcelona and Atlético equally, and the bleeding in their cases has not been the itself. Coincidentally, in recent weeks, when the sequence of crashes for the meringues has taken off after the elimination in the Cup and awaiting the Champions League, several falls have accumulated: those of Ramos, Hazard, Marcelo, Odriozola, Militão and Valverde.
Of the entire white squad, only Courtois, Casemiro, Mendy and Vinicius have dodged the infirmary (the Brazilian was low in Eibar but due to stomach issues). In total, 19 madridistas have had to stop sooner or later, another figure that also makes a difference with their competitors. In Barça, 15 have been affected and in Atlético, 11.
's 'normality' Every time a footballer has suffered an injury in Valdebebas, an average of seven games has been lost. The figure in the Barça dressing room is slightly higher (7.6), fattened, above all, by the meniscus problems of Coutinho (17 absences to date) and Ansu Fati (24), and Sergi Roberto (17) with the anterior rectus of the right leg, from which he relapsed two weeks ago. In the rojiblanca dugout, each mishap has meant five games out. Another fact in favor of Simeone is that he has always been able to count on key players such as Oblak, Llorente, Savic or Lemar. And top scorer Luis Suárez has only missed one match.
In Barcelona, beyond the most serious cases, De Jong, Griezmann and Pedri have never fallen, and Messi, Alba and Busquets have only done so in two crashes each . At Real Madrid, on the other hand, the list of misfortunes is long and growing. Sergio Ramos has missed 13 games; Carvajal, 17; Rodrygo, 10; and Hazard, 16. Figures that will increase in the following weeks because no one has them in the short term. The Belgian is another injury calamity , a victim of four this season, joining all those suffered in the last year and a half. Until now, his case was considered an unfortunate exception. At the moment, he is one more in the white infirmary.