Football

Varane adds to Real's woes

Zidane to be without the French defender, Ramos, Carvajal and Casemiro for Sevilla match tomorrow

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admitted that injuries will force him into patching up a makeshift defence for tomorrow's home match against Sevilla, after Raphael Varane joined a growing list of absentees.

The French international limped off holding his left leg as Real edged out Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in a Champions League thriller yesterday morning (Singapore time).

However, with the defending champions already having secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League behind Tottenham Hotspur in Group H, Zidane was more concerned with how Varane's absence could affect a busy end to the year for Real.

After tomorrow's match, the Galacticos jet off to Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup before hosting Barcelona on Dec 23.

Tomorrow's match is the French coach's primary concern, though, with Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Casemiro all suspended, while Jesus Vallejo is also sidelined by injury, leaving Nacho as Real's only fit centre back.

Up front, they could again be without Gareth Bale due to a calf problem.

"Varane has done some damage to himself, but we will see tomorrow when we do the scans as always," said Zidane.

"He won't be there on Saturday, that is for sure. We have to look for solutions."

Real have precious little room for error as they trail La Liga leaders Barca by eight points.

"I feel for the injured players, today it is Varane, but that is why we have a squad," added Zidane, who didn't rule out the possibility of reinforcing the squad next month.

MILESTONE

"We have the possibility (to sign) from Jan 1 and we will see what happens in those 30 days."

Injuries aside, it was another enjoyable Champions League outing for Real as Cristiano Ronaldo set yet another record in the competition.

The Portuguese, who is expected to pick up his fifth Ballon d'Or this morning (Singapore time), fired a spectacular effort into the top corner to become the first player to score in all six group games in one season.

Ronaldo's European form - he has nine in the Champions League in total - is in stark contrast to his struggles in La Liga, where he has scored just twice in 10 appearances this season.

"We wanted to end the group phase well with a win. I scored a great goal and got the record as well which is important, so I'm very happy," said Ronaldo.

Real could face the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Manchester United or Liverpool in Monday's last-16 draw.

However, Ronaldo believes the 12-time winners are capable of an upturn in form in the new year to carry them to a third straight Champions League title.

"It is obvious that I like playing in this competition a lot, but the most important thing is to be able to get into the next round once more," he said.

"Hopefully, Real Madrid can win it for a third straight year."

Ronaldo's effort, which came after Borja Mayoral's opener, had made it 2-0 for Real, but Dortmund came back through a double by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Lucas Vazquez then grabbed Real's winner nine minutes from time. - AFP

Football