Real Madrid Ancelotti Confirms Militao Return Ahead Of Bilbao Clash

After recovering from an injury, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti declared on Saturday that defender Eder Militao is fit and will play against Athletic Bilbao.

The Brazilian centre back has been sidelined for more than seven months following a long-term cruciate ligament injury sustained in the season’s opening game against Athletic.

When the league leaders take on Ernesto Valverde’s explosive team on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu, Militao is probably going to be on the bench.

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Militao returns tomorrow, which is the most important news,” Ancelotti told a news conference.

“He’s available, he’s trained well, obviously he’s not 100 per cent because he hasn’t played football, but he’s recovered very well from the injury.

“He was injured in the first game against Athletic and he’s back for the return, it’s very good news for us.”

Barring any setbacks, Ancelotti will have the 26-year-old Militao available when Manchester City visits on April 9 for the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal.

Madrid has survived the past few months with just two healthy centre backs on the field:

Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger. Defender David Alaba is also out.

What has happened to us is a bit strange,” said Ancelotti.

“I think we’ve shouldered it well, Rudiger is having a fantastic season, Nacho has brought a lot to the defence, although he’s made some mistakes.”

Madrid has the finest defence in Spain despite their problems with defensive injuries; in 29 games, they have given up just 20 goals, six fewer than their opponents Athletic, who have the second-best record.

Aurelien Tchouameni, a defensive midfielder, has occasionally stepped in at the back to assist close the distance.

The collective work has been very good, and it shows in that we are the team that’s let in the fewest goals,” added Ancelotti.

Madrid are without suspended star forward Vinicius Junior but top scorer Jude Bellingham returns after serving a ban.

The Brazilian winger has been the talk of the town this week following his moving media presentation on Monday in support of the fight against racism ahead of a friendly against Spain.

Various individuals, including as former Paraguay goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert, have seized the chance to further criticise the forward’s actions both on and off the pitch.

There is one thing that worries me about Vinicius – that is tomorrow he can’t play,” said Ancelotti wryly.

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