Brazilian national team coordinator Juninho Paulista has confirmed that they will not allow their four Real Madrid players to return to the Spanish capital ahead of schedule, meaning that they will not be available when Los Blancos face Athletic Bilbao in the Quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey next week.
“The players will have to be with us until the end of this FIFA period, which is on February 2nd. Depending on how we perform for the first game, we might discuss whether or not they will play the second game, but we cannot let them return ahead of schedule, it would set a precedent. We have to make the best out of the few days we can have with our players,” he said.
The four players will arrive in time for the match, but their presence is extremely unlikely given that it will be a very long flight for them and also that they will be lacking any kind of recovery or training session, which would increase the risk of suffering an injury for them.
Brazil have nothing to play for in these next two games, as they have already secured their presence in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Fede Valverde will also miss the match against Athletic as he will be with Uruguay.
Unless he decides to accept the risk of a serious muscle injury for his players, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti will have to find a replacement for the four Brazilian players, who were set to start at San Mames.