It seems there's always one unfortunate club that gets hit hard following an international break; this time, it's Spanish giant Real Madrid, although an injury to Arjen Robben only tells part of the story. Dutchman Wesley Sneijder and Brazil's Robinho and Julio Baptista all returned late from international duty on Thursday.
Reports in Brazil claim the Real Madrid pair, in addition to Barcelona's Ronaldinho, were spotted partying in Rio de Janeiro following Brazil's 5-0 win against Ecuador. The players were left out of their respective squads for this weekend's matches, due to their late arrival. Sneijder, who also arrived tardy to Real's training session, is in the lineup to face Espanyol but Robben is not, having fallen to yet another injury during the Netherlands' 2-0 win over Slovenia. Robben, who missed most of the start of the season through injury, isn't expected to return until late November.
Real coach Bernd Schuster was obviously disappointed with the events. "On the one hand we're delighted and proud that the majority of the squad has been selected for international duty, but on the other hand there is always the risk of injury, and that's hit us badly this time," the German said, adding that he was particularly displeased that so many of his players returned late. "We must find a way to control these things ... Perhaps the [international] federations aren't treating things with due seriousness."