Raphael Varane has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Real Madrid’s Champions League clash with Liverpool in addition to Saturday’s Clasico.
Varane’s absence comes as a hammer blow to Real Madrid, who are already set to be without Sergio Ramos after a muscle injury.
“Real Madrid CF informs that our player Raphael Varane has given a positive result in the COVID-19 test that has been carried out this morning,” the Spanish giants said in a brief statement.
Varane was set to anchor Real Madrid’s defense in the absence of Sergio Ramos and losing the World Cup winning center back hours before the Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool gets underway hands an almighty headache to Zinedine Zidane. The Madrid boss has used a back three to cover for the absence of captain Ramos and could deploy that system again tonight with Nacho Fernandez, Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy, the same defense he used in a 2-0 win over Eibar at the weekend.
With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both having suffered major injuries in 2020 Liverpool and Real Madrid will line up at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano tonight without a single first-choice center back between them.
Ramos and Varane are a hugely experienced partnership at Real Madrid and have played 228 games alongside each other including four Champions League finals. In the former’s absence it was apparent how vital Varane would be to Zidane’s plans by his decision to leave the France international on the bench in a bid to guarantee his fitness for what could be a decisive stage of Madrid’s season.
Since the start of 2018 Madrid have played four matches in La Liga and the Champions League without both Ramos and Varane, beating Leganes and Eibar but conceding three goals in defeats to Real Sociedad and CSKA Moscow.