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  • Bellingham, the new weapon of mass destruction, opens Madrid's win over Villarreal

The Santiago Bernabéu, with the roof closed for the second time this season, fell silent in the 32nd minute of the match against Villarreal. An instant silence as the fans watched as Luka Modric put his hands to his head after fixing his gaze on David Alaba's knee. The centre-back tried to put pressure on Gerard Moreno and his left foot was stuck in the turf while his upper leg continued to rotate. He fell to the ground and immediately raised his hand to the bench.

Without great shouts or gestures of excessive pain, but with a seriousness that clearly explained the situation. He said something to the Croatian midfielder and he reacted the way the whole stadium did. As did teammates like Rodrygo and Rüdiger with their hands on their heads. After cruciate injuries to Militao and Courtois and muscle problems for Carvajal, Madrid's defence lost another key piece.

After the match, the medical services confirmed the worst prognosis: "Rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee." "It's a shame, we're very sad, another player who goes down... It had never happened to me to suffer three cruciates (Courtois, Militao and Alaba) in four months. We have nothing to do," admitted Carlo Ancelotti. "What the team has to do is what they've done with injuries, hang in there and do even more than everybody thought," he added.

As if that wasn't enough, at half-time Ferland Mendy informed the doctors that he had some "discomfort in his right leg" and stayed in the dugout at half-time. It will be tested on Monday. "He felt his adductor was heavy and I preferred to change him to avoid something worse," admitted the coach, who expects Carvajal, Vinicius, Camavinga and Güler to be available after the Christmas break: "Carvajal will return to training on Tuesday, but we're not going to take any risks."

Madrid will reflect on whether or not to go to the winter transfer window to sign a centre-back, something that logically was not in the plans. Militao, who has shortened deadlines, is expected, calmly, for the final stretch of the season, and right now only Nacho and Rüdiger, with the help of Tchouaméni, who returned to the pitch yesterday, are available.

While the Whites' infirmary filled up, Bellingham and Rodrygo continued to score. The Englishman the first and the Brazilian the 2-0 in a match conditioned by injuries. Like that of Álex Baena, who left in tears in the first half after a blow and was sent off with whistles and shouts of "Fede Valverde!" by the home fans, who have not forgotten the clash between the two last season.

Despite Morales' goal, Madrid extended the lead in the middle of a somewhat rough second half. Bellingham and Altimira engaged in a grab that ended in a yellow card and Ilias saw the card after leaving a message for the Englishman while the Bernabéu chanted "olé, olé" for his team's 4-1, the work of Brahim and Modric. Madrid, sad and worried about Alaba, sleeps at the top.

  • Real Madrid