Ancelotti confirms Militao return after injury

AFP , Saturday 30 Mar 2024

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Saturday defender Eder Militao is fit after injury and will be in the squad to face Athletic Bilbao.

Eder Militao
File Photo: Real Madrid s Brazilian defender Eder Militao (L) vies with Getafe s Spanish midfielder Luis Milla during the Spanish League football match between Getafe CF and Real Madrid CF at the Coliseo Alfonso Perez stadium in Getafe on October 8, 2022. AFP


The Brazilian centre-back has been out for over seven months, after suffering a long-term cruciate ligament injury against Athletic in the first match of the season.

Militao will likely be on the bench at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday when the league leaders face Ernesto Valverde's high-flying side.

"Militao returns tomorrow, which is the most important news," Ancelotti told a news conference.

"He's available, he's trained well, obviously he's not 100 percent because he hasn't played football, but he's recovered very well from the injury.

"He was injured in the first game against Athletic and he's back for the return, it's very good news for us."

Militao, 26, will be an option for Ancelotti when Manchester City visit on April 9 in the Champions League quarter-final first leg, barring any setbacks.

With defender David Alaba sidelined too, Madrid have got through the last few months with only two available natural centre-backs -- Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger.

"What has happened to us is a bit strange," said Ancelotti.

"I think we've shouldered it well, Rudiger is having a fantastic season, Nacho has brought a lot to the defence, although he's made some mistakes."

Despite Madrid's defensive injury woes they have the best defence in Spain, conceding just 20 goals in 29 matches, six fewer than visitors Athletic who boast the second best record.

Defensive midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni has also filled in on occasion at the back to help plug the gap.

"The collective work has been very good, and it shows in that we are the team that's let in the fewest goals," added Ancelotti.

Madrid are without suspended star forward Vinicius Junior but top scorer Jude Bellingham returns after serving a ban.

The Brazilian winger has been in the spotlight this week after his emotional media appearance on Monday ahead of a friendly against Spain to combat racism.

Some figures, including former Paraguay goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert, have taken the opportunity to add to criticism of the forward's behaviour on and off the pitch.

"There is one thing that worries me about Vinicius -- that is tomorrow he can't play," said Ancelotti wryly.

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