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Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois suffers new knee injury ahead of return from long absence

File picture of Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois

File picture of Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will be out of action for several weeks after incurring a meniscus tear in his right knee during training on Tuesday, the LaLiga club said.

The 31-year-old Belgium international had been expected to return to Real’s squad after spending several months on the sidelines following an ACL tear in his left knee last August. He underwent an MRI scan later on Tuesday that confirmed the damage to his right knee.

“Following tests carried out today, our player Thibaut Courtois has been diagnosed with a ruptured internal meniscus in his right knee,” the club said in a statement.

The injury is a major blow for Real who will have to make do without the services of one of their key players for their highly anticipated Champions League quarterfinal tie against Manchester City in early April.

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday that he was optimistic about soon being able to count on both Courtois and Brazil defender Eder Militao, who also suffered a torn ACL in August.

Ancelotti had said the plan was for them to play two friendlies against Real’s youth team during the international break before returning to the first team for the final stretch of the season.

“They (Courtois and Militao) have started to work with the group, completing normal training sessions,” Ancelotti told a press conference on Friday.

“I think they will be able to make it (to the first leg against City). In fact, the idea is that they will be available on March 31st, for the LaLiga match against Athletic Bilbao, but we won’t risk anything, that’s more than clear.”

Courtois joined Real from Chelsea in 2018 after winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.

He was named Player-of-the-Match in the 2022 Champions League final, making nine saves against Liverpool in Paris, as Real secured a record extending 14th European title with a 1-0 win.

Real, who had only one other goalkeeper, Ukraine’s Andriy Lunin, in their first team squad when Courtois sustained his injury, recruited former Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on a season-long loan deal, although the Ukrainian eventually won the battle to be first-choice.

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