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Zidane has more options against Sevilla

As Real Madrid prepare to face Sevilla (the second time) Zidane has a few more options available

Real Madrid v Kashima Antlers- FIFA Club World Cup Final Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

The best news to come out of Valdebebas on Monday was that Sergio Ramos re-joined the squad and trained fully. With no reported reaction from that session or from yesterday’s, the signs are positive that he should be ok for a return to face his former club in Sevilla on Thursday.

At least that’s one piece of good news for Zinedine Zidane in a week where injuries have once again limited his choices. It didn’t end there though, as Lucas Vázquez made a surprise return to full training and is now reported to be in the running again for a place in the team; although not necessarily as early as this week.

With several injuries to key players disrupting preparations and team selection, it’s a credit to everyone involved how well the last few weeks have gone in terms of results.

From an injury aspect, Saturday’s game against Granada could have turned out a lot worse for Real as some of the challenges were hefty to say the least. Isco was reported to be struggling on Sunday morning and further investigations were taken to clarify exactly to what extent he had been injured.

We are still awaiting a formal report from the club but sometimes making a true assessment so soon after the game can be difficult due to swelling, stiffness and pain in the acute stage.

Injuries can often appear to be worse during that first twenty-four period than they actually are and taking that extra day out to give things a chance to settle can make a world of difference. We still don’t know the results of his MRI scan but hopefully it’s only going to show that the injury was of a traumatic nature involving severe bruising as opposed to serious structural or ligamentous damage.

When a player requires an MRI so soon after an injury has been sustained it usually means that the medical people feel that the potential for more serious injury is always there; and the trick – if there is one – is in being able to make that judgement call so early in the assessment process.

By the end of today we’ll know whether Isco is likely to be involved on Thursday night or not, and whether he’s looking at a longer spell on the side-lines than originally anticipated.

With potentially only the one enforced change for the Copa del Rey, it’s looking like the return of Sergio Ramos to the centre of the defence will be on the cards. He picked up his calf injury in the Club World Cup in Japan and for Sergio it’s a case of “I’ve been there before”. After the previous CWC in Morocco, he came home nursing a hamstring muscle injury that continued to trouble him well into the month of January and took a while to clear up.

His partner in the centre of the defence, Pepe, still appears to be out of contention for the time being although was reported to be making some progress following his own calf muscle injury sustained in December. As we know these can sometimes be difficult to rehab and often don’t respond too quickly to treatment.

Of the rehab group, it’s looking as though Mateo Kovačić and Pepe are the two players who are finding the recovery period difficult. Gareth Bale, of course, continues to undergo post-operative rehabilitation following his peroneal surgery and hopefully we will have a further update on that in the very near future.

Real Madrid have picked up their fair share of injuries in recent weeks but it’s been interesting to watch how the individual players have responded at different rates. With injuries like Isco’s though the recovery period can be notoriously difficult to predict but we’ll know soon enough what the finer details are and if we’re looking at a quick return or a lengthy absence.

The key this week, of course, is whether those who have just returned to training suffer any adverse reaction before the trip to Andalucía; bearing in mind that there is a quick follow-up with Sevilla (the third time) this coming Sunday.

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