Pepe and Fabio Coentrao failed to train with the rest of their Real Madrid teammates on Thursday morning (9 March) as Los Blancos began preparations to face Real Betis in another crucial weekend for the La Liga battle with Barcelona. Furthermore, the injured Raphael Varane was given permission to miss the workout due to the birth of his baby.
Real Madrid returned to training after a day off following their 3-1 victory over Napoli, which saw them secure qualification for the Champions League quarter-finals.
Zinedine Zidane's side host Betis on Sunday only hours after Barcelona visit Deportivo La Coruna while La Liga third place Sevilla face Leganes.
Real Madrid currently sit second position in the table, one point behind Barcelona and three ahead of Sevilla, with one game in hand.
Los Blancos still have two more days to prepare for the game but the participation of Pepe, Coentrao and Varane now looks doubtful after the trio missed Thursday's workout.
Coentrao and Varane have missed recent games due to various injury concerns but Pepe's absence is a surprising one, after the Portugal international completed the full 90 minutes in the victory over Napoli.
"Real Madrid have started preparations for the La Liga game against Betis, which will take place this Sunday at the Santiago Bernabéu. Ball work was the main focus of the session, which saw Zidane call up the Real Madrid Castilla players Enzo and Tejero. Coentrão and Pepe trained using the indoor facilities," the club said.
"Los Blancos carried out several different drills, focusing on one-touch combinations, possession and pressing, crossing and shooting before playing matches on reduced size pitches. Varane was granted a day off by the coach, as he has recently become a father."
Furthermore, Gareth Bale is ruled out to face Betis as the former Tottenham Hotspur star has to serve the second game of a two-match suspension given following his red card against Las Palmas.
Meanwhile Cristiano Ronaldo missed last weekend's win over Eibar, but should be available to face Betis after he returned to action against Napoli.