Real Madrid 4-1 Villarreal: Los Blancos’ Celebrations Marred By David Alaba’s Season-Ending Injury

David Alaba Real Madrid
David Alaba Real Madrid

Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid picked up a comfortable 4-1 win over Villarreal in Gameweek 17 of the 2023-24 La Liga season on Sunday night (December 18). The victory at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium allowed Los Blancos to reclaim the top spot in La Liga rankings but their celebrations were marred by David Alaba’s season-ending Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury.

Luka Modric Leads The Pack As Real Madrid Ouclass Villarreal

Eager to bounce back from their 1-1 draw with Real Betis last weekend, Los Blancos took the attack to Villarreal early in the game. After testing the keeper a couple of times, Madrid came agonizingly close to putting their noses in front in the 22nd minute.

The ageless Luka Modric picked up the ball outside the area and went for goal with a piledriver of a shot. The ball zipped over the Villarreal defense but did not dip in time, taking a deflection off the crossbar and crashing into the stands. Four minutes later, the Croat showcased his creativity, finding Jude Bellingham inside the box with a first-time lob. The in-form Englishman expertly guided Modric’s delivery beyond the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

In the 37th minute, Rodrygo doubled Los Merengues’ tally, reacting sharply inside the box amid a scramble and firing the ball home from close range. Villarreal pulled one goal back through Jose Luis Morales in the 54th minute, but a moment of brilliance from Brahim Diaz saw Madrid restore their two-goal advantage just 10 minutes later.

Just inside Villarreal’s half, Diaz used his body to shield the ball from a defender before executing a swift turn to get away. Running down the mid-left channel, Diaz sensationally dummied a shot inside the ‘D’ to evade a tackle before firing the ball home with a spectacular right-footed strike.

Having run the show until then, Modric got on the scoresheet in the 68th minute, finding the back of the net with a powerful strike after pouncing on a loose ball inside the area. The 38-year-old was the standout player of the game, with him creating five chances, completing 65 passes (93% accuracy), delivering seven accurate long balls, and making five recoveries.

David Alaba Becomes The 3rd Madrid Player To Suffer ACL Tear This Season

After losing Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao to ACL tears earlier this season, Real Madrid yielded another player to the nightmare injury on Sunday. Alaba, one of the pillars of Carlo Ancelotti’s backline, went down clutching his left knee after twisting it in the 32nd minute. The player had to be helped off the pitch by a couple of members of Madrid’s medical team. Later on Sunday, the club announced that the 31-year-old had torn the ACL in his left knee and will undergo surgery in the coming days.

With Alaba ruled out for the remainder of the 2023-24 season, the Whites are left with only two center-backs in their ranks. If either Antonio Rudiger or Nacho Fernandez picks up an injury, Madrid’s La Liga and Champions League charge could take a massive blow.

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