“Alaba can’t play”. With these four words, direct, forceful and without room for doubt, Carlo Ancelotti confirmed on Monday the absence of the Austrian defender for the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Manchester City, this Wednesday at 9:00 p.m..
Subsequently, David Alaba was included in the 23-player squad (all available, with the absences of the injured Isco, Hazard and Bale), protecting the minimum hope that exists in the club that he will finally be available to play a minute in such a decisive match.
In any case, Ancelotti himself confirmed that it will be nacho fernandez who acts in the center of defense with Militaryeven emphasizing that the obligatory change of cards will not entail tactical modifications in his way of defending the attacks of the Manchester City.
A priori, the absence of the Austrian defender is very bad news for Real Madrid in its aspirations to overcome the 4-3 with which the first leg match was resolved, played on Tuesday of last week, at the Etihad Stadium. The data, however, indicate otherwise..
In his first season in Spain, after finishing his contract with Bayern Munich, Alaba has participated in 45 of the 50 official matches for Real Madrid, in all of them as a starter. Only five have been lost, all due to physical problems… and the white team has won all five.
His first absence was on matchday four of LaLiga, in the match that marked Madrid’s return to the Santiago Bernabéu after the pandemic. The Chamartín club reported that the Austrian was suffering from an overload and his natural place was taken, as almost always, by Nacho. The result against Celta was 5-2 in favor of the Whites.
After three months playing all the matches without exception, Alaba’s next loss occurred on December 22, in the league commitment of San Mamés. In this case, the culprit for his absence was Covid-19, during the massive outbreak that the white entity suffered at that time. Despite the fact that Ancelotti had to travel to Bilbao with only 14 first team players, Real Madrid managed to defeat Athletic 1-2.
Upon returning from vacation, Alaba was again absent in the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona, due to muscular problems, without further specification. The match went until extra time, in which a goal from Faith Valverde certified the white pass to the final, in which, with Alaba in the eleven, Madrid was crowned super champion against Athletic.
The penultimate absence of the former Bayern player was on February 26 during the Whites’ visit to Vallecas. In this case, due to slight discomfort in the adductor that invited Madrid to be cautious. In a discreet party of those of Ancelotti, a goal by Karim Benzema in the 83rd minute it served to add three points against Rayo.
The last time that Madrid was forced to play without Alaba was precisely last Saturday, in the duel against Espanyol in which the Madrid club was mathematically crowned LaLiga champion. After having to withdraw injured at the Etihad, he could not be in the game and was relieved by Casemiro and Jesus Vallejo, in a strange couple of power plants forced by circumstances. It is the only time that Nacho, suspended, did not take his place as left central.
This Wednesday, the Spanish defender will once again be Alaba’s substitute, forming for the third time this season a defense completed by Carvajal, Militao and Mendy, which remains undefeated. will be ahead Casemirowhich until the Manchester City match shared statistics with Alaba: Madrid had won all the games of the season (six) in which the Brazilian had not played.
Against the ‘citizen’ team, Alaba’s record was also broken. And it is that it was not only that Madrid has always won when it has not had the Austrian, it is that it had also done so in the games in which he had been substituted: the visits to Granada, Sheriff, Alcoyano and Osasuna and the league duel at the Bernabéu against Getafe. For now, Alaba has never worn the Madrid shirt coming off the bench.
The balance of the 45 games played by the Austrian this year, by the way, rises to 31 wins, six draws and eight losses. And so far this season, only Thibaut Courtois and Militao have played more minutes than him. That points to him as essential, however, seeing the data on his absences, it is not so essential.