Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni carried on playing in last weekend's Clasico with a stress fracture in his foot because his team were losing, the player’s agent has revealed.
Tchouameni has been a key player for Madrid this season, starting all but two of the club's games across La Liga and the Champions League. But he could now be out of action for at least six weeks, or possibly even until early 2024 as a result of the problem he suffered.
The Frenchman has already denied suggestions that he was injured by Barcelona midfielder Gavi.
A collision between the two had left Tchouameni limping, but he later clarified: "It's not Gavi's fault. I was injured at the end of the first half."
Now, the 23-year-old's agent, Jimmy Kebe, has suggested that Tchouameni wanted to stay on once the first half ended because Madrid were trailing due to Ilkay Gundogan’s early goal. It also appears that it wasn’t until later that he realised the nature of the injury.
"He felt something [in the first half] but it wasn’t a big deal and then, during the game, it got worse," Kebe relayed to The Athletic. "It wasn't because of Gavi. He didn't say anything [at half-time] because, as the team was losing, he wanted to win. But he didn’t know. When you are playing you don’t feel it, it’s when you stop and take off your shoes."
By the end, two Jude Bellingham goals – the second in the 92nd minute – won the game for Madrid. But they will have to make do without Tchouameni for at least a little while.
Carlo Ancelotti isn't flushed with options in central midfield given that he uses Bellingham in a more advanced 'number 10' role and there have been reported concerns from the Bernabeu hierarchy about Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, with a combined age of 71, playing alongside each other.