Real Madrid lose a key midfielder just before facing Valencia

Real Madrid may have played just one match since returning from a three month layoff, but that doesn’t mean the first-team is injury free. Just hours before hosting Valencia Thursday night, Isco was scratched from the squad.

Upon returning from the three month suspension of matches and training, both Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz were listed as injured. A couple of weeks later after training was back in full swing, Nacho Fernandez went down with a muscle problem in his leg.

Winger Lucas Vazquez followed his countrymen a week later with a similar muscle tweak. Now, as Real Madrid go through the final preparations for a crucial match against Valencia in the Spanish capital, manager Zinedine Zidane knows he will be without attacking midfielder Isco.

Isco was not only included in the 23-man matchday squad, but trained with his teammates at the di Stefano on Wednesday night and looked perfectly fine. My assumption is that while doing agility drills and sprints, the Spaniard tweaked his hamstring.

“Following the tests carried out today on our player Isco Alarcón by Real Madrid’s medical department, he has been diagnosed with a hamstring injury to his right thigh. His recovery will continue to be assessed.”

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This news is a big blow for both the player and his manager as Isco was likely to appear in this match after remaining on the bench in the 3-1 win over Eibar on Sunday.

Real Madrid’s squad depth is waning with all the injures that have been cropping up in training, and, if you factor in Casemiro’s impending suspension if he receives one more yellow card, Zizou simply does not have many options of players at his disposal.

Without Isco in the lineup and assuming that Casemiro will likely start on the bench for this match as a precaution, Real Madrid has four midfielders they can use. Those four are Toni Kroos, Fede Valverde, James Rodriguez, and Luka Modric.

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The assumption at the moment is that like Nacho and Lucas Vazquez, Isco will be out for at least two or three weeks. This is difficult for the players because they will be missing at least four or five matches.

Isco was expected to be a regular in the squad with the five substitution change, now, Kroos and Modric will have to carry the squad through the end of June in to July.

This will also give James Rodriguez a chance to prove that he deserves to stay in Spain past the end of this season. He will get playing time and he will need to play well with lots of eyes on his every move.

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