Carlo Ancelotti
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti needs to navigate an ongoing injury crisis at the Santiago Bernabeu. AFP / FRANCK FIFE

Real Madrid CF secured an emphatic 4-1 victory over Villarreal CF on Sunday night, but the club has suffered yet another major injury blow. Defender David Alaba was forced off with what has now been confirmed as an ACL injury.

It was a night of mixed emotions for Los Blancos, who are provisionally at the top of the table after their latest win. Girona are currently a point behind, but they still have a game in hand and could potentially re-claim the top spot if they beat Alaves on Monday.

Needless to say, it was a much-needed victory for Real Madrid, who are fighting tooth and nail to stay at the top of La Liga. However, this latest injury concern has left Ancelotti baffled and extremely concerned.

The crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium bore witness as Alaba was forced off in the 35th minute of the match, making it clear that the injury was serious enough to warrant an early substitution.

After the match, Ancelotti immediately confirmed that they were in an "emergency" situation and that Frenchman Aurelien Tchouameni will be the obvious choice to fill the void left by the Austrian defender. "Tchouameni is the first option at centre back. In an emergency, and this is an emergency. He can play there," said Ancellotti.

He then addressed Real Madrid's growing list of injured players. While some are suffering a wide variety of muscle issues and other injuries, an ACL tear is quite serious and the same problem has already affected first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Eder Militao. He said: "This is the first time it happens to me, 3 of my players tearing their ACL."

The club issued a statement just hours after Sunday's match, confirming that tests have been done and Alaba will need to undergo surgery to address the issue as soon as possible. Real Madrid said: "Following tests carried out on our player David Alaba, he has been diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He will undergo surgery in the coming days."

The club did not give a timeline on the player's recovery, but anyone who is familiar with how ACL injuries usually go would know that he will need several months to recover. In fact, there are speculations that he may have already played his last game in the current season.

After the match, teammate Toni Kroos immediately took to social media to express his support for Alaba.

If Alaba won't be able to return this season and with Militao also out, Los Blancos may consider an emergency signing during the January transfer window. It may be remembered that the club signed Kepa Arrizabalaga on a loan deal from Chelsea FC when Courtois suffered an ACL injury during the pre-season.

Ironically, Kepa also suffered a muscle injury and has been out of action since early November. Luckily, Andriy Lunin has stepped up and has so far proven to be a worthy replacement. Ancelotti will rely on Tchouameni for the time being, but he may need a back-up plan especially as there are several other players who are missing from other positions.

Real Madrid are going strong despite the injury crisis

At the start of the season, Real Madrid looked massively off-balanced, with several players jostling for the same positions. However, nearly halfway through the campaign, Ancelotti would be more than glad that he has such a deeply talented roster. The likes of Luka Modric, who spent the first few months of the season starting from the bench, is now able to unleash his magic.

The Croatian scored one of Real Madrid's goals against Villarreal, alongside earlier strikes by Jude Bellingham, Rodrygo Goes and Brahim Diaz. Apart form Modric, Rodrygo was also silent for most of the early part of the season, but the young Brazilian is now on fire.

Brahim Diaz has just returned to the club, and many wondered why he would want to spend most of his time on the bench. However, his loyalty to the club and his determination to succeed there has paid off, with the opportunities slowly opening up to him.

Meanwhile, Bellingham is still in fine form, and the Real Madrid faithful are relieved that he was not sidelined for very long despite dislocating his shoulder a few weeks ago. Despite all the injuries, they are currently on top of La Liga and were flawless in the Champions League group stage.