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Vázquez latest setback for Madrid ahead of Liverpool match

MADRID (AP) – Lucas Vázquez has become the latest injury setback for Real Madrid ahead of facing Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, leaving coach Zinedine Zidane with few options at right-back. His absence already compounds the problems for a Madrid defense without central defenders Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. Eden Hazard wasn’t included in the list for Wednesday’s match

when Madrid will try to defend a 3-1 win from the first leg and return to the semifinals for the first time since it won the final against Liverpool in 2018. Vázquez had to be replaced near halftime in the team’s 2-1 win over Barcelona on Saturday in the Spanish league’s last clásico of the season. On Monday, the club said tests showed the versatile Spanish player has a sprained crucial ligament on his left knee.


Madrid did not say how long Vázquez is expected to be sidelined, but he will unlikely play again this season. The injury happened after he and Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets collided as they slid to reach a ball near midfield. Vázquez had been essential for Madrid recently while playing right back as a replacement for

Dani  Carvajal remains injured and won’t make the trip to England. Álvaro Odriozola is also a right-back, and he replaced Vázquez in the clásico, but he has been marred by injuries this season and has only played in a few games this year. Zidane, in the past, improvised with Nacho Fernández as a right-back. Still, he will likely be needed as a central defender again to play alongside Éder Militão because of the absences of regular starters Ramos, who is injured, and Varane, who is recovering from the coronavirus. Midfielder Federico Valverde also left the game against Barcelona because of a physical problem, but he was included in the squad for the match in Liverpool. Hazard has been practicing with his teammates but still isn’t fully fit to play.

“We’ve reached the limit physically,” Zidane said after the clásico.

The injury for the 29-year-old Vázquez, who has played most of his career with Madrid, comes just as his contract with the club expires this season. He set up Karim Benzema’s opening goal against Barcelona on Saturday.

Madrid has won six games in a row in all competitions and is unbeaten in 13 consecutive matches. But the defending Spanish league champions trail leader Atlético Madrid by one point with eight games.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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