Real Madrid's Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria, who suffered an injury during Madrid's 4-0 win over Racing Santander last week, could miss up to a month of playing time, according to a new report from Spanish daily Marca. Unfortunately for Real Madrid, the injury is much worse than was originally thought (I believe the prognosis was for no more than one to two weeks originally), and Di Maria will have to spend extensive time on the sideline for the third time this season. This injury raises fresh questions about Di Maria's fitness regimen, his ability to stay fit for an entire season, and Real Madrid's tactics with their injury-prone players generally.
This also raises more concerns for Real Madrid Coach Jose Mourinho, especially in regard to his often-changed starting lineup. In Madrid's draw with CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, Mourinho started Jose Maria Callejon in Di Maria's stead; previously he had used Kaka in combination with Mesut Ozil shuttling to the wing. Di Maria, a starter for most of his time with Madrid, gave Mourinho a modicum of flexibility on the wing: his speedy, incisive runs shredded defenses, and his left foot produced some of Madrid's most memorable goals. Now, Mourinho will need to look elsewhere for the assists, goals, and defensive pressure that Di Maria has been known for at Madrid.
In related news, Karim Benzema's injury is not particularly serious, and it looks like he will reappear on the early end of the 2-4 week timeline that had been originally set for his return. This is great news for Karim, as he has been enjoying a truly fantastic season with Madrid, finally producing the breakout campaign that many have expected of him for years.