Real Madrid set new Jude Bellingham return date following ankle injury

  • Jude Bellingham has missed two games through injury
  • Real Madrid targeting the first two games in March
  • Thibaut Courtois also getting closer to return from torn ACL
Jude Bellingham is already close to injury return
Jude Bellingham is already close to injury return / Mateo Villalba/GettyImages

Real Madrid are hopeful that Jude Bellingham will make his return from an ankle injury at the start of next month and in time to feature in the Champions League last 16 second leg.

Bellingham suffered the problem after scoring twice in Madrid's crucial 4-0 win over surprise La Liga title rivals Girona a fortnight ago and has missed games against RB Leipzig and Rayo Vallecano as a result - Carlo Ancelotti's team drew the latter match but actually extended their lead over Girona.

A report from Marca suggests that Madrid coaching staff are targeting the away game against Valencia on Saturday 2 March for Bellingham to be back on the pitch.

That would give the 20-year-old an opportunity to get minutes in his legs before Madrid host Leipzig - the fixture initially pencilled in for a return - at the Bernabeu four days later, seeking to hold onto a slender 1-0 aggregate lead. But it means missing one further game until then, with Madrid facing Sevilla at home this weekend.

Bellingham has proven to be remarkably resilient since his €134m summer transfer from Borussia Dortmund, arriving off the back of a knee complaint that had ruled him out England matches in June and later missing only one game when he dislocated his shoulder in November.

Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois is making good recovery progress / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The other big injury news out of Madrid on Friday is Thibaut Courtois getting closer to a return after suffering an ACL tear in August. The goalkeeper’s recovery is described by Marca as "flying" and he could fully rejoin training as soon as the end of next month, having already begun to participate.

Even though Madrid dipped into the transfer market to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga on loan from Chelsea when Courtois got injured, former deputy Andriy Lunin has ultimately won the battle to start in the usual number one's absence. The Ukrainian has proven that he has the ability to be a starter at the highest level, but he won't permanently displace Courtois and faces a decision in summer as to whether he reverts to being a seldom seen back-up or looks for an opportunity to play elsewhere.

Lunin's wife had suggested in November that the 25-year-old, whose contract is up in 2025, was prepared to leave the club. However, he himself stated more recently that he would prefer to stay.