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Marcelo’s injury hands Zinedine Zidane a defensive problem

Marcelo, Real Madrid, La Liga, Zinedine Zidane
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Zinedine Zidane admits Real Madrid are short of options for full-backs after Marcelo’s hamstring injury ruled him out of action.

Zidane called up Marcelo as a second-half replacement for the injured Nacho Fernandez during Real’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Club Brugge on Tuesday.

While the Brazilian played the full 45 minutes in Madrid, he missed training on Friday. The club later released a statement confirming that Marcelo had suffered “a strain to the biceps femoris in his right leg”.

Now the 31-year-old, who just returned on Tuesday after a three-week absence, will now spend more time on the sidelines.

For Zidane, though, it couldn’t have come at a worst time given that Nacho is out with a knee injury until Christmas at least. While summer signing Ferland Mendy is still recovering from a thigh injury.

It’s stirred up suggestions in the Spanish press that the Frenchman could call on Gareth Bale, who played as a left-back at Tottenham, to deputise in the role for Saturday’s home game against Granada.

“The truth is that I have not thought of that at all,” said Zidane in a pre-match conference on Friday.

“We have other possibilities before that. [Eder Militao] may be an alternative. He is a defender, he has played in this position, it is a possibility.”

Reporters, meanwhile, quizzed Zidane on Thibaut Courtois after the Real supporters booed him off at half-time against Brugge as he made way for Alphonse Areola.

There have since been rumours going about claiming that the Belgian goalkeeper was suffering from anxiety, which Real sternly have denied.

“He was bad, yes,” Zidane said on Courtois.

“He was disturbed. It can happen, but a player can play in spite of that. But at the break, he was no longer able to play.

“Whistles, whether unfair or not, are like that. He is strong mentally. We know, internally, that the fault is collective in the first period against Brugge.

“I have 25 players, I count on each one of them. Thibaut Courtois is one of them. People can talk, have their opinion, about what happened on Tuesday. But the three games before, it was Courtois in goal and we did not concede any goals.

“No one is indisputable, neither Courtois nor anyone. [Areola] is a great keeper, like Thibaut. He is very good, and that’s it. We have two good goalkeepers who play and that’s it.”

The Real and Granda La Liga match takes place at the Santiago Bernabeu, with kick-off set for 16:00 (CET).