Cristiano Ronaldo put Real Madrid on the brink of another Champions League final on Tuesday night (2 May) by scoring a hat-trick to lead his side to 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the semi-finals. However, the gloss of the impressive victory was somewhat taken off by an injury to Dani Carvajal ahead of a crucial month in their hope to recapture the European crown and beat Barcelona for the La Liga title.
Carvajal, 25, was forced off at half-time after suffering a musical injury following an aerial challenge with Saul Niguez in the 44th minute of the game.
Versatile Nacho impressed during his absence in the second-part of the game but the injury is still a blow for Zinedine Zidane after both the Spanish right-back and left-back Marcelo had become key players in the France boss's system in the current campaign.
Carvajal is expected to undergo a scan in the coming hours to address the issue but initial reports in Spain are claiming that he could miss the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday 10 May.
Real Madrid also have Danilo to cope with his potential absence and the 3-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu should be a big enough lead for Los Blancos to go through the final anyway.
However the injury of Carvajal could be still a blow in the ferocious battle with Barcelona for the La Liga title ahead of their last four games of the campaign.
Real Madrid have a game in hand but cannot afford to drop more points in those matches as Barcelona are currently leading the table due to the head-to-head records.
Meanwhile, Zidane was full of praise for his players after the win, identifying the Atletico Madrid victory as one of the best performance of Los Blancos since he took over the club in January 2016.
"I'm not sure whether we've put in a better performance since I took over. We produced a great display and it was far from easy to go out and score three goals tonight. Our opening half an hour was fantastic and we had a lot of chances to have got a second, but we didn't manage to do so until after the break. We're very happy with our performance, the three goals and, above all, to have kept a clean sheet here at home. This was a great performance and perhaps our best yet," Zidane said but urging his side to keep the feet on the ground ahead of conquering the double.
"Today we're entitled to be happy and enjoy how we performed out there. There's still a long way to go, both in La Liga and the Champions League. We haven't won anything yet. I don't think that you could say that we're in a state of euphoria. We'll enjoy this one tonight and then rest up. Tomorrow we'll turn our attention to what is an important game on Saturday".
You may be interested in: