Monday, December 4, 2023

The black week of Real Madrid: a year without Courtois, without Militao… and without Mbappé

The average madridista faced a few days ago the start of LaLiga with the illusion of having a very large and high-quality staff, underpinned by the exuberant Jude Bellingham and just waiting for kylian mbappe served as a cherry to alleviate (and in what way) the march of Karim Benzema as a leading scorer. Good times, those of illusion, also before Courtois and Militao were injured and that the passage through the operating room was confirmed Arda Guler.

Four days have been enough for the smile to have mutated into a grimace. Yes, by the way the team Carlo Ancelotti has signed a solvent league debut at San Mamés (0-2), in which Bellingham has also confirmed his potential to become the next big star of Real Madrid. But the negative stimuli have defeated the positive ones.

Courtois’ injury

It all started on Thursday, when the serious injury of Thibaut Courtois was known. It was also a sharp blow, without warning. Barely a few minutes passed since it was leaked that something had gone wrong in the morning training until the club published in the official statement with the bad news: rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee.

Real Madrid did not even take time to plunge into the duel. The duty of the club was to look for an emergency substitute, given the poor security that it transmits Andriy Lunin (especially Ancelotti himself) and the lack of level and experience of the Castilla goalkeepers. Carletto suggested the name of Yassine Bonobut the operation was quickly ruled out due to the African Cup dispute in January and its cost.

On the table was also the name of David De Geabut the chosen one ended up being Kepa Arrizabalaga. A loan from Chelsea for which the white club will pay around five million euros, in addition to assuming the footballer’s salary. Bayern, who also wanted him, confirmed yesterday a transfer not yet announced by Madrid (something that is expected to happen this Monday). “We were close and in fact we wanted to present Kepa today. But he is Spanish and he chose Real Madrid”, explained yesterday the general director of the Bavarians, Jan Christian Dreesen.

Militao was injured in San Mamés

Real Madrid will take a little more time to decide what to do with the center of defense. Éder Militao, during the visit to San Mamés, suffered exactly the same injury as Courtois: rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The diagnosis was more intriguing, since we had to wait until Sunday noon to confirm it, but the result is the same, a blank season (or almost) for both.

The presence in the squad of David Alaba, Nacho Fernández and Antonio Rüdiger It offers greater room for maneuver to a Madrid that does not rule out the option of not replacing Militao. The free player market does not offer tier names (except for a Sergio Ramos whose possible return seems impossible) and the solution could be to look for some convincing assignment. But it doesn’t seem easy.

Repish to Rafael Marin (Alaves) or jesus vallejo (Granada) of his assignments is another option. Or, directly, immerse yourself in the market and sign a footballer of the present and future, thinking that Militao himself is the only center-back in the squad that is under thirty.

PSG pardons Mbappé

And also counting on the fact that this summer Real Madrid does not have to reserve money to face the signing of Mbappé. Something that was quite clear at the club, although leaving the door open for the player himself to promote a different scenario, but that the white fans began to assume as of this Sunday, when PSG pardoned the striker and allowed him to return to training under the orders of Luis Enrique.

With these there are already three consecutive summers in which Real Madrid and Mbappé flirt without anything changing: in 2021, PSG rejected two huge offers on the last day of the market; in 2022, the Frenchman broke the pre-agreement to move to the Bernabéu with the letter of freedom; and now he has not taken the decisive step that he expected, without any haste, Florentino Perez to activate the operation.

Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé, in the box at the Parc des Princes during PSG-Lorient. EUROPE PRESS

In the Bernabéu offices, in reality, their sights have always been set on next summer. And according to what they say from France, PSG and Mbappé are approaching positions to sign a renewal that includes an exit clause scheduled for 12 months from now. Because next summer, yes or yes, the already eternal soap opera Mbappé will reopen. For the illusion of many and laziness of many others.

Real Madrid stands like this, in mid-August, without the starting goalkeeper and striker of recent seasons and without its most reliable defender of the last year. A jug of cold water for Real Madrid and a new challenge for Ancelotti. Of course, all this smells like a breeding ground for new and unexplored feats. History dictates so.


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