Despite being shorn of €180m worth of first-team talent ahead of their Champions League quarter final second-leg crunch clash against neighbours Atletico Madrid, there are plenty of reasons for Real Madrid fans to feel confident at the Bernabeu.
Los Blancos have been hit by a flash injury crisis ahead of the fixture, which Carlo Ancelotti’s men are 20/21 to win and 13/20 to progress from, after winger Gareth Bale and midfielder Luka Modric both went off in the 3-1 win over Malaga last time out, the former after five minutes.
The ex-Spurs duo will both miss the visit of Diego Simeone’s side, as will striker Karim Benzema, who didn’t even make the Malaga match due to a swollen knee.
Considering the trio have combined to score or assist 59 La Liga/Champions League goals this season, Atleti followers will no doubt be buoyed by the news and pile into Los Colchoneros’ 5/4 odds of a second successive Champions League semi-final berth.
However, such is the strength in depth within the Real ranks that the loss of three undoubtedly influential players won’t be as keenly felt as many expect, according to the stats at least.
Ancelotti has sent his side out minus Benzema in the starting line up seven times this season, and Real have won each game, five without conceding.
Bale has also failed to make the Italian master tactician’s XI seven times this season, with the same result; Real have emerged victorious on each occasion, with their only goal conceded in those fixtures coming in a 3-1 win at home to Barcelona.
Modric’s loss seems even less of an issue, as the Croatia maestro has missed more matches than he has played so far in the campaign due to hamstring trouble.
Spanish pair Asier Illarramendi and Isco, who cost €60m+ between them two summers ago, have stepped in to plug the gap left by Modric, with Los Blancos winning practically the same ratio of games without the 29-year-old in the side (72%) as with him (75%).
Furthermore, Real have taken the laurels in nine of the ten games ‘Illarra’ and Isco have started together, with the exception being a 1-0 loss on the road at Athletic Bilbao.
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