Real Madrid face CB injury crisis before Girona showdown

Antonio Rüdiger has suffered a thigh injury, Real Madrid confirmed on Saturday, leaving the LaLiga giants without any fit centre-backs for their top-of-the-table clash with Girona, and ahead of their return to Champions League action next week.

Madrid host Girona at the Bernabéu on Saturday with just two points separating the two teams at the top of LaLiga, before they travel to RB Leipzig in the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday.

Stream LIVE: Real Madrid vs Girona at 12:30 p.m. E.T. on ESPN+ (U.S.)

The league leaders are already without first-choice defensive pairing Éder Militão and David Alaba, who suffered ACL tears in August and December respectively, while Nacho Fernandez is unavailable with a muscle strain.

“Following tests carried out today on our player Antonio Rudiger by Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with a muscle injury in the vastus lateralis of the left thigh,” Madrid said on Saturday in a statement. “His progress is pending.”

Rudiger was hurt in a challenge with Getafe forward Mason Greenwood on Feb. 1, although the issue was initially dismissed as a knock.

On Friday, coach Carlo Ancelotti said that Rudiger would undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability against Girona.

“Rudiger trained today for the first time and he felt good,” Ancelotti told a news conference. “Tomorrow we have time for another test. If he feels good, at his best, he’ll play, and if he doesn’t, we won’t risk it.”

Ancelotti added that he expected club captain Nacho to be “fine” for the Leipzig game on Tuesday.

Full-back Dani Carvajal filled in at centre-back against Atletico Madrid last weekend, and Ancelotti said he would start alongside midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni in a makeshift backline against Girona in Rudiger’s absence.

Madrid have defied a string of injury problems this season — with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois also suffering an ACL tear in August, and star forward Vinícius Júnior absent for over two months with hamstring problems — to top the LaLiga table.