A number of Real Madrid players are struggling to stay fit for the crunch showdown against Ahly, including star goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, forward Karim Benzema, defenders Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy, David Alaba and midfielders Lucas Vazquez and Aurelien Tchouameni.
On Sunday, five of these six stars missed the Real Mallorca in the Spain La Liga due to various injuries: Benzema with a hamstring strain; Militao with a groin injury; Eden Hazard with a knee injury; Mendy with a thigh injury; and Vazquez with an ankle injury.
Without these stars, the Meringues failed to find a way past Real Mallorca, losing 1-0.
Moreover, Aurelien Tchouameni left the game against Mallorca 20 minutes before the final whistle with muscle problems.
Courtois is almost certainly out of the Club World Cup after he suffered an injury to his adductor in the warm-up ahead of the Mallorca game.
“Every game we have to play is the most important game. Now, we have a game in the World Cup, which we want to win,” Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said after yesterday's defeat.
The Meringues remain runners-up in the La Liga table with 45 points after playing 20 games so far this season, eight points behind rivals and table leaders Barcelona.
“We are not finished yet. There are many games to go. We will come back [from Morocco] to fight for La Liga until the end," Ancelotti added.
Real Madrid, winners of four titles Club World Cup titles in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, will face Ahly in Morocco in a do-or-die mission to secure a fifth trophy.
“Now we have to think about the Club World Cup. We are going there with difficulties but also with enthusiasm,” the Real Madrid coach added.
On the other hand, Ahly, who are making their eighth appearance – the third in a row – in the Club World Cup, are gunning to reach the tournament's finals for the first time ever after having claimed three bronze medals in the 2006, 2020 and 2021 editions.
The game against the Real will be the second time for Ahly to play against a European Champion in the Club World Cup.
In the 2020 edition, Ahly lost to the German side Bayern Munich 2-0 in the semi-final.
Ahly advanced to semifinals after they beat the Seattle Sounders of the United States 1-0 in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
They beat the New Zealand side Auckland City 3-0 in the in the preliminary round last week.
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