What Carlo Ancelotti had long suspected was confirmed 48 hours before the Clasico. Thibaut Courtois is going to be out.
The goalkeeper, who has had problems since late last month, will no doubt be left out of Catalonia’s game for failing to train alongside his teammates.
MARCA reported Thursday that his injury recovery has not progressed at the pace expected and that his participation is dependent on how the player feels when he wakes up on Friday morning.
Ultimately, all parties chose to be conservative and not to rush a return that could have negative consequences for the future. Andriy Lunin, therefore, scored for Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season.
The Ukrainian goalkeeper has made his last four appearances for Real Madrid, two of them being in the Champions League against Shakhtar against Donetsk and LaLiga against Santander against Getafe and Osasuna.
How long will it take for Courtois to return?
Manager Carlo Ancelotti claimed earlier this week that he expected the Belgian goalkeeper to return to training this Thursday. However, the player was a no-show.
Recovery has clearly not progressed at the pace hoped for and Courtois’ commitment to Clasico hinged on how he was feeling today. For it is clear he’s not yet ready to return to the field.
It virtually eliminated him from what is arguably Real Madrid’s biggest match of the season. Courtois’ absence will put pressure on Andriy Lunin to play for the reigning Spanish and European champions at the Bernabeu on Sunday.
The situation is being monitored daily and if he is 100% fit he will be back in the White’s goal. So far, he’s been working with Valdebebas’ physiotherapist every day, as well as working out at the gym and pool.
Despite Courtois’ absence, there are positives for Real Madrid with Antonio Rudiger’s return to training. The German defender suffered a serious facial injury in the match against Shakhtar, but has apparently recovered and was seen training without a mask with his teammates.
While this is certainly good news for Ancelotti & co, the absence of Courtois will be a blow given the Belgian has consistently hit the mark in the biggest games of the past year.
Given that Ancelotti saw the next El Clasico as the final, having a Belgian goalkeeper would have given him a huge confidence boost. But Real Madrid will be without their number one when they visit Barcelona on Sunday.