·2 October 2023
·2 October 2023
It's fair to say that the injury bug has hit Real Madrid in a big, big way in the opening few months of the 2023/24 season.
Madrid lost goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and star centre back Eder Militao to ACL injuries during the first week of the La Liga campaign and things haven't gotten much better since then.
Once Champions League duties are over, Carlo Ancelotti will head into a weekend of La Liga action with just one senior centre-back at his disposal.
Here's what the Madrid manager may do to combat the issue.
The only centre-back available for La Liga action / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages
In the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening, Carlo Ancelotti will be able to call upon the services of Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez in central defence.
In La Liga on Saturday afternoon against Osasuna, Ancelotti will be able to call upon the services of Antonio Rudiger and...that's it.
The egregious lack of available options is due to Militao's ACL injury suffered in the first game of the season, David Alaba's muscle problem sustained in the win over Las Palmas recently, and Nacho's insanely rash challenge during the Girona win which was more than deserving of a red card.
Utility player / Eric Alonso/GettyImages
Thanks to his ability to play the holding midfield and left-back roles to a world class standard, it would make sense for Ancelotti to see if Eduardo Camavinga can do the same as a centre-back.
The France international possesses plenty of traits that would translate well as a central defender - namely his physicality, ability on the ball and reading of the game - for a match or two if needed.
Along with Camavinga, Dani Carvajal is another emergency option that could be utilised. While the right-back has not been particularly impressive this season, the 31-year-old has been around the block quite few times and can provide some veteran leadership in the heart of the defence.
Let's not feel too sorry for Real Madrid though as, because they're literally Real Madrid, there's a few young defenders on the books who could easily step up to replace their injured and suspended centre-backs.
One is Castilla captain Alvaro Carrillo, who was called up to the UEFA Champions League squad for the clash against Napoli in midweek and could make his senior debut from the bench.
The 21-year-old has been one of the standout performers in recent years for Real Madrid's youth teams thanks to his composure on the ball and strength off it. Perhaps the only reason he hasn't broken into the senior squad quite yet is because he's only 5'11 (sorry to all the short kings out there).
Coming in at one inch taller and a year younger than Carrillo is the very highly-rated Marvel. The Casablanca-born defender has long been touted with making the step up to senior football, having been notably included in the squad for last season's FIFA Club World Cup, and looks ready-made for La Liga football.
Under-19 coach Dani Poyato hailed Marvel as "the closest thing to Alaba that you can find. A left-footed central defender who can also play wide. Confident bringing the ball out from the back, [he has] an imposing physique, ideal for duels." So it would make sense if he replaced the injured Alaba, right?