Real Madrid are anxiously sweating on the fitness of captain and talisman Sergio Ramos, ahead of a crunch Clasico showdown with bitter rivals Barcelona this weekend.
Ramos has spent time on the sidelines and trained alone ever since picking up a knock during a recent LaLiga clash with Cadiz.
The 36-year-old hobbled off following the half-time interval in a match which Madrid were dealt a shock 1-0 defeat, placing even more emphasis upon the upcoming meeting with Barca.
Madrid have taken just 10 points from five games after starting the season at a slow pace, and will learn at the last minute whether Ramos will be back in time for Saturday’s showdown at the Nou Camp.
Ramos did not feature midweek as Madrid were again defeated, this time by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
The Madrid captain watched from the stands as his side lost their opening group game 3-2 at home, despite scoring two second half goals and looking on course to stage a comeback.
Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard and Martin Odegaard already ruled out of the Barca fixture, while Mariano Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola are also unavailable for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Eder Militao partnered Raphael Varane in the heart of Madrid’s defence against Shakhtar, and could be set to do the same should Ramos not return in time.
In contrast Barca triumphed spectacularly during the midweek Champions League action, hammering Ferencvaros 5-1, despite seeing Gerard Pique sent off.
Ronald Koeman’s team enter the Clasico sitting in 9th place, having played one game fewer than Madrid and taking seven points from four matches.