Injury worries for Barcelona, Real Madrid in La Liga games

Madrid, Jan 28 (IANS) Both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have injury problems to deal with ahead of their respective Spanish football league matches on Sunday.

Barcelona have to recover quickly from their efforts in Thursday’s King’s Cup triumph over Real Sociedad, while coach Luis Enrique will also have half an eye on next Wednesday’s semi-final away against Atletico Madrid as he prepares for the trip to play Real Betis in Seville, reports Xinhua.

Betis are unbeaten in their four home games to date since Victor Sanchez took over as coach and the Benito Villamarin Stadium has traditionally been a hostile place for Barcelona to visit.

Luis Enrique’s options are limited by injuries with Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Rafinha and Javier Mascherano all out, while Sergi Roberto is a doubt for the La Liga match.

Roberto’s absence could give Aleix Vidal another opportunity to show his value, while Denis Suarez will hope for another chance after scoring twice in midweek.

Real Madrid have an equally long injury list with Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal, Pepe and Marcelo all definitely out, while James Rodriguez and Rafael Varane are doubts for the visit of Real Sociedad.

The injuries to Carvajal and Marcelo mean head coach Zinedine Zidane will have to look for solutions at full backs as neither Fabio Coentrao or Danilo looked convincing during his side’s Cup exit on Wednesday night and Danilo has become a target for the boo-boys at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Nacho Fernandez can cover on the left and Zidane could look to the Real Madrid B-team for solutions on the right with young Moroccan, Akraf Hakimi included in the squad in midweek.

Meanwhile there are also doubts over the current form of Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, despite his free kick in midweek.

Real Sociedad, who are fifth in the table, have their own worries with right backs Carlos Martinez Zaldua injured and Yuri Berchiche suspended for the trip to the Bernabeu.

–IANS

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