Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has a selection headache for the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final with Egypt’s Al Ahly on Wednesday.
This is because he will be missing several key players due to injuries.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, forward Karim Benzema and defenders Eder Militao, Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy will not make the trip to Morocco on Monday.
But the first three may be available for places in a possible final match on Saturday if Real Madrid advance.
Vazquez and Mendy have been out for several games with long-term injuries.
But Benzema and Militao, who were substituted with leg injuries in Real Madrid’s LaLiga win against Valencia on Thursday, are not expected to be sidelined for too long.
Courtois, who suffered a groin injury during the warm-up for Sunday’s surprise defeat at Real Mallorca, does not have a long-term problem going by medical examinations on Monday.
Courtois, Benzema and Militao will stay in Madrid for treatment but are expected to join their team mates in Rabat later in the week if their treatment goes as planned.
Real Madrid are struggling lately, having won only one of their last three LaLiga matches, allowing FC Barcelona to extend their lead at the top of the standings to eight points.
They have to worry about all the injuries and a packed schedule over the next few weeks.
The FIFA Club World Cup is quickly followed by a UEFA Champions League clash with Liverpool and Copa del Rey showdown against FC Barcelona, as well as LaLiga matches.
But coach Carlo Ancelotti says they will go for glory on all fronts.
However, the Italian did urge the authorities to look at fixture scheduling in the future for the sake of player welfare.
“We will not throw any tournaments away, we are very close… In the (Spanish) Cup semi-finals, last 16 in Europe, Club World Cup semis,” Ancelotti said last week.
“We don’t ever want to throw matches away… (but) the schedule is just remarkable, it doesn’t stop.
“LaLiga wants its share, FIFA wants its share, UEFA wants its share, Spanish FA wants its share… They won’t allow us to have a day to rest.
“I get bored when I get days to rest, but the players get tired…
“We’re always looking forward to fight for every title but we’re going beyond our limits with the schedule as it is. Between all of us we need to do something to avoid this situation.”
The winners of the Real Madrid versus Al Ahly game will in the final match face either Brazilian side Flamengo or Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal.
Both sides play in the second semi-final in Tangier on Tuesday.