Real Madrid announced today that center-back Pepe has a grade 1 calf strain that he suffered during the draw with Valladolid on Wednesday.
According to reports, the muscle injury has a typical recovery time of 15 days, meaning he could very well miss the rest of the season, including the Champions League final on May 24, depending on how he progresses.
A humorous bit of translation on the English version of the Real Madrid official site says, “Pepe was diagnosed with a grade 1 injury in the soleus muscle of her left leg. The player’s progress will be monitored.”
Hopefully for Real Madrid, “her” left leg recovers in time for some big games down the stretch, with the Los Blancos four points back in the La Liga title race and two to play. Backup center-back Raphael Varane is also struggling with an injury, so the position is in limbo.
It’s also something to monitor for the Portuguese national team, who are hoping Pepe’s injury won’t extend into any preparation for the World Cup. Portugal, who are in the United States’ group, are also dealing with a slight injury to star forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who limped off after just eight minutes against Valladolid with a hamstring injury.
With the Champions League final looming, those two big injuries aren’t all Real Madrid is faced with. Gareth Bale was also ruled out of the match against Valladolid with a slight knock. Both Bale and Ronaldo reportedly returned to training yesterday, but it remains to be seen how fit they actually are.
Nagging muscle injuries could certainly affect a player over the coming months, especially if he (or she?) looks to return too early and aggravates the problem. That’s certainly possible at this point in the season when teams like Real Madrid need all their best players in every games down the stretch.
News on Ronaldo’s injury against Valladolid was that he was seen limping in the days leading up to the match but Carlo Ancelotti decided to play him anyways, and the result was the injury.