MADRID, April 21 – Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has hit back at Croatian team doctor Boris Nemec in a row over a medial ligament sprain suffered by Luka Modric.
The former Spurs midfielder has been ruled out for up to six weeks after suffering the injury in clash with Malaga midfielder Recio on Saturday.
However, Nemec pinned the blame on Ancelotti for not giving Modric sufficient rest since he returned from a five-month layoff due to a thigh injury suffered whilst playing for Croatia against Italy in November.
“It seems to me that he comes from a different world, an extraterrestrial,” said Ancelotti when quizzed about Nemec’s comments on Tuesday.
“He played 90 minutes against Norway (for Croatia last month) when the game was already won. There are injuries that can be prevented in better preparation and others that come about due to contact.”
Madrid have an injury crisis to deal with if they are to make it into the Champions League semi-finals for the fifth consecutive season on Wednesday against an Atletico Madrid side they haven’t beaten in seven previous meetings so far this campaign.
Karim Benzema has also been ruled out with a knee ligament sprain, whilst Gareth Bale has a calf injury and left-back Marcelo is suspended.
However, Ancelotti insisted he had faith in a host of players that could be called into action at the Bernabeu despite their lack of first-team action throughout the season.
“We have to remember that Modric suffered a very serious injury playing for Croatia at the beginning of November and with Isco playing in his position we won every game until December 22,” added Ancelotti.
“I said many times I have the best squad in the world, so I am not thinking about who is not going to play but those that will.
“For this reason I have a lot of confidence in my players.”
Of all their seven previous meetings with Atletico, however, last week’s 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderon was arguably Madrid’s best performance as they dominated the first 45 minutes only to be denied by in-form Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
And Ancelotti believes a repeat display will be enough to finally overcome Atletico’s well-organised defence.
“My only concern is to pick a team that plays with the same quality as in the first-leg.
“We need to be capable of repeating what we did in the first 45 minutes.
“We haven’t beaten them yet because Atletico are a very strong team with a very solid defence. We need to be very concentrated, but we have no rush to score, we just need to play well from the first minute to the last.”