Real Madrid are sweating on the availability of rising star Vinicius ahead of Sunday’s trip to Real Betis with coach Santiago Solari already without a host of players.
The 18-year-old Brazilian has impressed for the European champions when given the chance this season and scored Real’s final goal in their 3-0 Copa del Rey win over Leganes in midweek.
However, the winger is struggling with illness and is a doubt for the trip to Seville, where Real are without the likes of Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, Thibaut Courtois, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez through injury or suspension.
Solari admits he does not know if Vinicius will be fit to play, but the Madrid boss was also quick to point out that he still has plenty talent at his disposal either way.
Solari told a press conference as reported by the club’s website: “We don’t know whether he’ll be involved tomorrow, we need to wait a bit before announcing the squad list, but we’ll know either way during the course of the day.
“Real Madrid’s strength lies in the group, the squad is made up of 24 players.
“We’ll all be going there looking for the win, as we always do. We’ve had a lot of issues, we’ve got a number of players out injured, but we’ll be trying to get them back as soon as possible.”
One player who is available, but who has found starts hard to come by, is Spain international Isco.
The club’s spate of injuries, especially among attacking players, could have opened the door for the 26-year-old playmaker, but Solari was giving little away.
“Isco is doing fine, just like all of the players who are training at the moment,” he said.
“We’ll have to see who plays tomorrow, the squad list hasn’t been completely decided on yet.
“I’ve got 24 players and I’d love for all of them to be able to play more.”
A 2-2 draw at Villarreal and last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad to start 2019 has left Madrid in fifth place and 10 points adrift of leaders Barcelona.
Sunday’s opponents Betis, meanwhile, are four points behind Madrid in sixth spot, having recorded the exact same sequence of results (WLWWWDL) over the last seven league games as Solari’s men.
While Madrid were losing to Sociedad last weekend, Betis were slumping to a shock 2-1 defeat at rock-bottom Huesca, who had only won once previously in LaLiga this term.
Betis, who lost this fixture 5-3 last season, will be desperate to make amends for that upset but boss Quique Setien knows it will not be easy against Madrid, regardless of their injury problems.
He said in AS: “We always expect the best Madrid, like we did the best Huesca.
“I know there are players who can’t play for Madrid because of injuries, that happens to all of us. I don’t know how much that will influence things.
“We’re going to go into the game with the same principles as always – being brave, pressing high up, and with as much energy as possible, without thinking too much about the fact it is Madrid who we are up against.”
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