My Soccer World

Football: Injuries Threaten To Undermine Real Title Charge

Posted on: November 24, 2008

MADRID – Real Madrid’s injury jinx shows no sign of letting up with Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain the latest first team victim and coach Bernd Schuster is worried that any more could hinder their title defence.

Real defeated Recreativo Huelva 1-0 on Saturday to climb up to second, three points behind Barca who drew 1-1 with Getafe on Sunday, and ease the pressure on Schuster but a sizeable injury list is starting to concern the German.

“The bad news for us is Higuain has sprained his ankle,” bemoaned Schuster.

“I hope he will be back for us soon as we can’t continue like this (with so many injuries). It is harming us a lot and we can’t compete on all fronts.

“It is difficult to find an explanation because almost all of the injuries are coming from matches. We can’t be in this situation in November.

Higuain, 21, is Real’s top-scorer this season with nine goals and is expected to be out for at least for a fortnight leaving Real short of firepower for their upcoming fixtures starting with Tuesday’s Champions League match at BATE Borisov.

Real have had a horrid time with injuries this season with Dutch forward Ruud van Nistelrooy ruled out for the season with a potentially career-threatening knee injury.

Compatriot Arjen Robben is also sidelined with a torn thigh muscle with midfielder Mahamadou Diarra and Fabio Cannavaro joining them on the treatment table.

Spanish international midfielder Ruben de la Red is also unavailable due to health reasons after fainting on the field during Real’s Kings Cup match at the end of October.

It is bleak for Schuster with his squad down to its bare bones and the champions are openly looking at recruiting new personnel when the transfer window opens in January.

Zenit St. Petersburg attacker Andrei Arshavin and Inter Milan forward Hernan Crespo have been mentioned with a striker the obvious top priority

Injuries are a pain for Schuster but they have handed bit part players a chance to try and make their mark in Real colours.

Javier Saviola has been used sparingly until now but is hopeful of getting a run in the team.

“We do have several players who are injured, but we have to rise to the occasion,” said Saviola.

“This team has other players who are very capable, but we need our injured players to recover as soon as possible.”

As well as Saviola, who has never really lived up to the hype, youngster Albert Bueno, 20, has progressed through the Real ranks and made his league debut in the 1-0 win over Recre. – AFP/vm

Channel News Asia

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