Updates from Thursday, May 1
Alvaro Arbeloa has made a return to training for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid TV's Phil Kitromilides reports:
Real Madrid right-back Alvaro Arbeloa confirmed on Thursday that he will miss at least eight weeks with a knee injury, meaning he'll forego—at the very least—most of the club season, while his status for June's World Cup is seriously in doubt.
"I will be out for a minimum of eight weeks," the 31-year-old Spaniard told Jorge Martin of Goal.com. "In the end, the injury has proven to be much more serious than it first looked."
Eight weeks from Thursday would keep Arbeloa out until May 8. Assuming he is able to stay on that timetable, he would return for Real Madrid's last two La Liga matches of the season, as well as the Champions League final should Los Blancos advance that far.
Moreover, with so much time away from the pitch, his chances of cracking a stacked Spanish squad in time for the World Cup (which begins June 12) also diminish significantly, as football writer Juan Arango pointed out:
Arbeloa has struggled with consistency as of late, but he is an important piece, especially for Real Madrid. In his absence, 22-year-old Daniel Carvajal would fill in, while Nacho Fernandez and Sergio Ramos could also help provide cover.
With the Copa del Rey final against rival Barcelona and a heated three-team race at the top of La Liga on the horizon, it will be intriguing to see how Real Madrid fare with diminished depth on the back line.