Real Madrid CF can't wait to get over the hurdle of their final game of 2021. The club has been hit by an outbreak of Covid-19 infections, and a total of nine individuals within the first team have already been sidelined due to positive Covid-19 test results.

Los Blancos will be heading to San Mames to face Athletic Club on Wednesday night for their final match of the year. Manager Carlo Ancelotti has found himself in a tight spot after being left without his assistant, Davide Ancelotti, who was among those who tested positive last week. In terms of selection, the manager has been left without Luka Modric and Marcelo, who were the first to get infected, followed by Andriy Lunin, Gareth Bale, Rodrygo Goes and Marco Asensio.

Up until that point, most of the infected players had either been second-stringers save for Modric. However, on Tuesday, Isco and David Alaba were added to the list of infected players.

On top of the Covid-19 cases, Dani Carvajal is sidelined due to an injury, alongside Dani Ceballos. What's worse, Casemiro is suspended after picking up too many yellow cards.

In other words, the squad now has a large number of key absentees. Real Madrid's squad vs Athletic Club is improvised to say the least. Thibaut Courtois will be backed by Toni Fuidias, Diego Pineiro, while the list of defenders will see the likes of Rafa Marin and Miguel Gutierrez joining the regulars.

In the midfield, only Toni Kroos remains from the formidable trio he forms with Modric and Casemiro. The German will instead be working with Eduardo Camavinga and Fede Valverde, and they will be joined by youngsters Antonio Blanco and Sergio Arribas probably from the bench.

Up front, Karim Benzema appears to have gotten over his muscular discomfort, with Vinicius Junior also likely to start. The right wing will probably be covered by Eden Hazard again, with Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz on the bench beside another young gun, Peter Gonzalez.

Carlo Ancelotti
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP