UPDATE, 11:12 AM CET: There has been some discrepancy about this report in the Spanish media. For now, we will assume that the initial report (from Marca) is true, despite AS running a story about Mourinho's plan to start Di Maria tomorrow against Barcelona. Stay tuned.
There's some absolutely awful breaking news coming out of Madrid this morning: Real Madrid star winger Angel Di María will miss the first leg of Madrid's Copa Del Rey matchup against FC Barcelona with a strong muscle contracture that he suffered today in practice. At this point it's still unclear whether Di Maria will miss the second leg of the highly-anticipated Copa Del Rey showdown, though most experts agree that he is unlikely to be able to play.
This loss is a huge blow for Real Madrid, as it throws a major wrench into manager José Mourinho's plans heading into the matchup: one of Real Madrid's advantages against the minimally-favored blaugrana side was their speed on the counter attack. Much of this speed was due to Di María's ability on the wing.
Additionally, Di María is in the middle of his best season with los blancos: he currently leads the team in assists, and has become something of an offensive catalyst, stepping into the role vacated by Mesut Özil's bad form. Losing their playmaking, speedy winger is certainly a major blow to Real Madrid.
Stay with Managing Madrid for up-to-the-minute coverage of this developing story: like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. Also, stay tuned for a more detailed analysis of José Mourinho's options in the wake of all the injuries to the squad.