When the decision was made to restart La Liga most people asked two questions from an injury aspect.
Will there be an increase in the number of injuries sustained, and if so, will this mean an end to the season for any players involved? If we want to add a supplementary question, then we could ask about whether any injuries picked up since the restart are likely to carry over into the new season.
The latter has turned out to be true in many cases at different clubs across La Liga. With only a week left of the league programme following the hastily-arranged restart on the 11th June, Marcelo has become the latest Real Madrid player to occupy a plinth in the medical room.
Given the time left until the end of the season, it’s game over for the Brazilian. Having sustained an injury to an adductor muscle in his left groin, Marcelo’s unlikely to be fit to join in training for the foreseeable future.
Adductor muscle injuries, or old-fashioned groin strains as we used to talk about, can be tricky enough for a footballer to manage anyway during the regular season. These are often prone to recurrence due to the amount of twisting and turning involved in the game.
So with only a few days left before Real Madrid’s final league match away to Leganés, Zinedine Zidane will already be thinking ahead to Marcelo’s availability for the Champions League match in England against Manchester City in less than a month.
This gives him plenty of time to recover in time for the trip to the Etihad Stadium on August 7th.
It has all got a bit frantic though since we entered the final week. Monday night’s game at Granada will quickly be followed up by the visit of Villarreal to the Alfredo Di Stéfano on Thursday, then it’s the short trip to Leganés’ Butarque and the end of the league campaign.
As far as injuries are concerned the intensive schedule will fully test the club’s resources. Whatever excuses were made for rushing La Liga back at the time, I’d like to hear w one that justifies cramming four games into ten days.
It’s not only Real Madrid who have to manage this schedule, of course, other clubs are faced with the same problem.
I know the old adages regularly trotted out in football are all about taking one game time, the most important match is the next one etc. etc., but Zinedine Zidane will already be looking at the Champions League date in Manchester as being Marcelo’s recovery target.
P coach has every reason to be positive at the moment, since Marcelo apart, Real Madrid’s injury situation has been manageable since the players returned to training.
The injured due of Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard are back in the team and apart from the current health query over Luka Jović, he too has returned from a foot injury.
Despite being doubtful earlier in the week, Raphaël Varane recovered from his neck injury to play against Alavés, while Eden Hazard who missed the Athletic game last Sunday, also returned to training and came on as a substitute in the second half of the game against Alavés.
Nacho is reported to have joined in the first part of Real’s training session on Saturday and his injury continues to improve although he’s still working on individual exercises as well, this is normal when returning from injury.
It wouldn’t be impossible for Nacho to ease into full training in the next few days but this would need to be weighed up against the risks of sustaining an early recurrence. Zidane has always said that he likes to give players as much time as possible to recover from injury so Nacho is unlikely to be rushed into coming back at the moment.
With regards therefore to the first question about whether there has been an increase in injuries since the restart, this is something that will need to be assessed when Real Madrid’s league season ends in a week’s time.
The stats can then be compared with the injury situation pre-lockdown, but of course, the season won’t really end due to Real Madrid’s involvement in the Champions League.
Marcelo’s current injury effectively answers the second question as he’s out for the season, but in his case that’s mainly due to the time factor rather than anything else.
This is happening all over the La Liga at the moment, and since there’s only a week left to play, most injuries that force players to withdraw from training or matches tend to take longer than seven days so they do effectively end some players’ seasons depending on the timing and of course the severity.
How many of the injuries sustained will carry over into next season will be dependent on their severity and nature, so again we’ll need to see what the stats show in just over a week.