After a largely successful tour of the United States over the last couple weeks, Real Madrid was hit with some disappointing new as they returned to the Spanish capital on Wednesday. Three defenders picked up injuries leaving them in doubt for the first match of the season.
Manager Julen Lopetegui has a bit of a problem on his hands already. Coming into the preseason, Los Blancos had some of the best defense depth in La Liga. After signing Álvaro Odriozola from Real Sociedad to back up Dani Carvajal on the right flank, every fan felt comfortable with the personnel at the back.
But, it was a rather dangerous preseason for those depth defenders Marca reported early this morning.
Three Real Madrid defenders were injured over the course of the three International Champions Cup matches causing concern among the coaching staff about what the squad will look like in Estonia a week from today.
Ever since returning from loan in 2016/2017, Jesús Vallejo has suffered injuries mainly with his hamstring. The young Spanish center back missed extended periods of time twice last season and that lingering problem appears to have returned.
He played in just the first match of the tour and remained out of the lineup for the two wins. While it was unknown why, it was revealed when returning to the Ciudad Real Madrid that Vallejo was again recovering a hamstring injury. It appears to be rather serious as he could miss up three weeks recovering.
Odriozola picked up an injury Tuesday night while warming up to come into the match against AS Roma. It was surprising he didn’t make an appearance in the match, so whether the injury was something serious or holding him out was simply a precaution was not mentioned.
Álvaro impressed in his appearances against both Manchester United and Juve. It is a shame he picked up a niggle and hopefully, it is nothing more than a muscle pull or strain.
The third defender to pick up an injury was Nacho Fernandez. The all-purpose defender started the match in MetLife Stadium and played for just an hour before having to be taken out with an injury problem.
He went down in a heap after going in for a challenge, but remained in the match. A few minutes later, he was again down on the pitch and was attended to by the Real Madrid medical staff before limping to the sideline to be replaced by Raúl de Tomas.
Lopetegui has the luxury of his first choice defender being fully fit as Raphael Varane and Marcelo have been back in training for a few days now and should be ready for the tilt against Atletico Madrid.
However, the replacements for those two, Dani Carvajal, and Sergio Ramos are incredibly thin. Theo Hernandez is reportedly about to head out on loan, leaving youngster Sergio Reguilón as one of the only replacement options.
There isn’t a need to panic, but things aren’t great injury-wise before the first competitive match.