Real Madrid will be without Eder Militao, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes, Casemiro and Fede Valverde when they take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey Quarterfinals. The Spanish Football Federation have decided not to postpone this round of the domestic competition even after knowing that many CONMEBOL players will have to miss the game as they will be on duty with their countries.
“I understand the complaints, this schedule was not something negotiated. We tried to negotiate it with the Spanish Consejo Superior de Deportes but we couldn’t and had to accept it. We’re hoping that in the following seasons we can sit down and discuss these matters,” said Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales, suggesting that it wasn’t the Federation’s decision.
Real Madrid tried to convince the Brazilian national team of letting the four players return to Madrid ahead of schedule, but it wasn’t a successful request, Real Madrid sources told Managing Madrid. Brazil have already clinched their presence in the World Cup and have nothing to play for in their next two games, but they decided to keep Militao, Vinicius, Rodrygo and Casemiro around.
On the other hand, Uruguay are still fighting to secure a spot in the World Cup and Valverde is a key player for them, so he will also miss the match against Athletic as Real Madrid will not even request Uruguay to let Valverde miss their second game.
Real Madrid will be shorthanded against Athletic, especially on the wings. Camavinga and Nacho will replace Casemiro and Militao, while Hazard and Asensio —assuming he recovers in time from his injury— will play on the wings.