Real Madrid injuries: Fitness updates and return dates ahead of March international break

  • Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao are closing in on returns to full fitness
  • Joselu missed final game before March international break with illness
  • David Alaba remains out for the rest of the season
Courtois is close to a return
Courtois is close to a return / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Real Madrid remain in good shape for the final few months of the 2023/24 season, leading the La Liga title race with a Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City also to look forward.

However, Carlo Ancelotti has had his fair share of injuries, fitness issues and suspensions to deal with throughout the campaign. That Los Blancos are eight points clear in first place in Spain's top flight ahead of the March international break is a testament to the Italian's mastery of his craft.

Thankfully for Ancelotti and Madrid, the situation is clearing up ahead of the run-in. Here's where their injured stars stand in regard to potential comebacks once international fixtures are over.

Thibaut Courtois

What injury does Thibaut Courtois have?

Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid CF warms up during the...
Courtois has been seen back in training / SOPA Images/GettyImages

Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in training before the season got rolling last summer. He has missed most of the campaign, with Andriy Lunin outperforming Kepa Arrizabalaga to earn Los Blancos' goalkeeper spot in Courtois' absence.

A club statement at the time read: "After the tests carried out on our player Thibaut Courtois, he has been diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The player will undergo surgery in the coming days."

That surgery was successful but Courtois has still missed 45 games in the 2023/24 season and admitted his Euro 2024 hopes were all but over, aside from his drama with those in charge of the national team set-up.

When could Thibaut Courtois return from injury?

Courtois was feared to miss the whole of 2023/24 with his ACL injury, but optimism has emerged in recent weeks suggesting the former Chelsea stopper could be available before the end of the campaign.

Those reports were backed up when manager Ancelotti revealed both Courtois and Eder Militao had returned to training and could be back in action after the March international break.

Ahead of a 4-2 win over Osasuna, he said: "They have started working with the team this week, we will take advantage of this break to do friendlies against the youth team. I think they will be ready for the match on the 31st [against Athletic Bilbao]. We won't take any risks. They are doing very well."

Madrid's following game after hosting Athletic comes in the Champions League quarter-finals against Manchester City, which Courtois could now be in contention to feature in.

David Alaba

What injury does David Alaba have?

David Alaba
Alaba suffered a devastating ACL blow / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

David Alaba became the third Madrid player to suffer an ACL injury in December when he was struck down in a 4-1 win over Villarreal.

"After the tests carried out on our player David Alaba, he has been diagnosed with a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The player will undergo surgery in the coming days."

"The medical report says that he has a cruciate injury," Ancelotti said at the time. "It's a shame, we are very sad because another player goes down. I have never had three ACL injuries in just a few months.

"What the team has to do is hold on like we have done. We have done more than people expected. Despite the problems, this team endures. We will see in the next few days if something can be done [in the transfer market]."

When could David Alaba return from injury?

Unlike Courtois or Militao, there's no hope presently of Alaba returning before the season is out.

His absence, paired with Militao's, has left Ancelotti struggling at centre-back throughout the campaign, though it hasn't hindered their charge towards the La Liga title.

Eder Militao

What injury does Eder Militao have?

Eder Militao, Rodrygo Goes
Militao was injured in the first game of the season / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Eder Militao was sidelined in Madrid's first La Liga game of the season, being withdrawn after 50 minutes with what turned out to be an ACL injury.

After the game, Ancelotti admitted: "It's a sprained knee. It doesn't look good, but we'll evaluate it in the coming hours. We hope it's nothing serious. We're worried and not ruling anything out."

Militao hasn't played since and it was reported at the time that Madrid would look to their youth academy for a replacement. Antonio Rudiger has played at centre-back most often in La Liga for Madrid, while Alaba appeared 14 times in Spain's top flight before being struck down.

Club captain Nacho Fernandez has enjoyed greater game time, while Aurelien Tchouameni and Dani Carvajal have also filled in.

When could Eder Militao return from injury?

Similarly to Courtois, Militao could be available for the clash with Athletic Club at the end of the month should he come through the remainder of March in good shape.

That could also make him available for the first leg with Man City, though Ancelotti could equally opt against picking the Brazilian against last season's treble winners if he's short of match fitness.


What injury does Joselu have?

Joselu Mato
Illness ruled Joselu out against Osasuna / Mateo Villalba/GettyImages

Veteran striker Joselu has proved to be a smart addition to Madrid's squad this season, returning 14 goals in all competitions so far in 2023/24.

However, he was struck down by a bout of illness before their match with Osasuna before the international break.

A statement from Madrid read: "Joselu will not be available this afternoon for the match between Real Madrid and Osasuna, corresponding to matchday 29 of the League. The striker is out at the last minute due to gastroenteritis."

When could Joselu return from injury?

Gastroenteritis isn't pretty, but Joselu could still turn out for Spain after being named in Luis de la Fuente's La Roja squad for March.

Barring any complications, he should recover in time for the match against Athletic Club.

Dani Ceballos

What injury does Dani Ceballos have?

Dani Ceballos
Ceballos is a squad player at Madrid / Diego Souto/GettyImages

Dani Ceballos hasn't been much more than a squad player at Madrid since spending two seasons on loan with Arsenal, but he still totted up 46 appearances in all competitions in 2022/23.

While the embarrassment of riches at Ancelotti's disposal in midfield means Ceballos has started just one league game this season, a reported knee strain meant the Spain international was unavailable for the trip to Pamplona.

When could Dani Ceballos return from injury?

Ceballos signed a new four-year contract with Madrid last year but only new arrival Arda Guler has fewer La Liga minutes than him in the squad in 2023/24.

He should be fit after the international break, but regular game time won't be any more likely with Tchouameni, Federico Valverde, Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric and Jude Bellingham all competing for minutes.