Real Madrid star duo omitted from Club World Cup squad
Real Madrid's squad for their upcoming Club World Cup semi-final has been confirmed, but manager Carlo Ancelotti will have to deal with the absence of a couple of key players.
Europe's reigning champions take on Egyptian side Al Ahly in the semi-finals of the competition on Wednesday - which pits the winners of the six continental confederations against one another - with a date against Flamengo or Al Hilal set for Saturday night if Real emerge victorious.
However, Ancelotti's squad won't be at maximum capacity for the trip to Morocco, with a number of players failing to make the trip to Moroccan capital Rabat.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and striker Karim Benzema have not travelled with the squad, and neither have Eden Hazard, Eder Militao, Lucas Vazquez or Ferland Mendy.
Courtois is struggling with a groin strain picked up at the weekend, while Benzema picked up a leg injury in the recent 2-0 win over Valencia. There is hope, however, that both could return to the fold should Real reach the final.
In the absence of Courtois, Real are likely to line up with Andrey Lunin in goal, and minutes may be afforded to Mariano Diaz up front amid huge fixture congestion caused by the recent winter World Cup in Qatar.
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Indeed, the Club World Cup has been pushed back to February this year because there's been no other time available in the calendar, and it starts at a time when Real have suffered a major setback in their hopes of retaining La Liga.
A shock 1-0 defeat to Mallorca at the weekend has left Real trailing bitter rivals Barcelona by eight point - the loss was Los Blancos' second defeat in their last five league outings.
Real also resume their Champions League campaign in two weeks time, battling old adversaries Liverpool in a two-legged round of 16 clash.