Madrid, Aug 8 (IANS) Real Madrid will kick off the new La Liga campaign on August 23 without two key players after it was confirmed that central defender Pepe will be out of action for at least three weeks with a calf injury.
Pepe was forced to limp out of Real Madrid’s defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night after just 18 minutes of the game and tests have confirmed that he has suffered a tear in his right calf, reports Xinhua.
He is the second Madrid player to be confirmed as out for the first game of the campaign with striker Karmin Benzema also sidelined by a muscle problem.
Meanwhile defender Fabio Coentrao has yet to train after reporting back with a thigh injury.
Pre-season is a time when sides traditionally see players pick up minor muscular problems as they return to full activity after their summer holidays, but this summer has been especially unfortunate for Real Madrid.
As well as Pepe, Benzema and Coentrao, Cristiano Ronaldo has suffered from a back problem, while Luka Modric has also been unfit, as has Asier Illaramendi, while Gareth Bale has also needed rest in order to avoid risking any setbacks.
After spending the past three pre-seasons working in Los Angeles, it has to be wondered whether a pre-season which has so far seen Madrid fly to Australia, China and Germany has not helped the players physical preparations.