Of Real Madrid’s 19 players who traveled to play with their national teams during the most recent international break, an astonishing seven have come back injured.
You would imagine that Coach Jose Mourinho, who is often critical of the international calendar, would be seething, yet he issued the following measured response: "You have to take the rough with the smooth."
However, behind the scenes, he is no doubt looking for a solution, La Marca says, particularly in defense, where he has now lost Marcelo (2-3 months), Alvaro Arbeloa (3-4 weeks), Fabio Coentrao (3 weeks) and most recently, promising youngster Raphael Varane, who complained of muscle fatigue after playing in both legs of France’s Under-21 Euro 2013 qualifier against Norway. Strikers Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain and midfielders Sami Khedira and Angel Di Maria also did not train Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Los Blancos have four games to play in the next two weeks, including a tough away game against German champion Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.