Zinedine Zidane's injury concerns look set to continue for another weekend as Real Madrid started the preparation for the visit of Real Sociedad on Sunday (29 January) without James Rodriguez, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale.
The seven first-team players missed the disappointed Copa del Rey 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Wednesday night and remained out when the rest of the available teammates returned to the training sessions on Thursday evening. The draw at Celta meant an early elimination from the Copa del Rey as Zidane's injury hit squad were unable to overturn the 2-1 deficit from the first leg of the quarter-finals played at the Santiago Bernabeu last week.
Real Madrid will try to put that disappointment behind them in the La Liga encounter with Real Sociedad as Los Blancos remain favourites to win the league. Yet, the Champions League winners, who still have a game in hand, are still at the top of the table, one point ahead of Sevilla side and two over Barcelona – despite a recent defeat to Jorge Sampaoli's side which also saw their rivals closing the gap.
Los Blancos only won one of their five past games and will host Real Sociedad in, arguably, their worst from since Zidane took over Rafa Benitez in January 2016.
The injury crisis at the Santiago Bernabeu is not helping the France boss to cope with the dip in form as he has been lost some key players in recent weeks.
Yet, James, Varane, Carvajal, Pepe, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Bale were missing at Celta and probably the last six would have been in the starting line-up had they been fit.
And it looks that the game with Real Sociedad could also come too soon for the seven as the club have informed that none of them trained with the rest of their teammates on Thursday evening.
"Those who played from the start at Balaídos completed a recovery session in the indoor facilities, while several also carried out running exercises on the pitch. James and Varane worked indoors, while Carvajal, Pepe, Marcelo, Modric and Bale all continue with their respective recovery programmes," Real Madrid confirmed on the official website while adding that Zidane promoted his son Enzo, Tejero and Achraf from the second team to the workout.
James was expected to return to action against Celta but Zidane revealed before the game that he had suffered a setback in his recovery and will be out of action for a longer unspecified spell.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid revealed last week that Luka Modric and Marcelo had suffered different muscle injuries in the weekend win over Malaga, and while the Croatian should be available in a matter of days, the left-back expected to be out for up to a month.
Carvajal, Pepe, and long-term absentee Gareth Bale are not expected to be back anytime soon either while the club didn't specify why Varane missed the clash with Celta, only days after completing the full 90 minutes in the win over Malaga.