Atletico Madrid face a defensive crisis after Saul Niguez and Lucas Hernandez both pulled up with injuries while on international duty.
A statement on the Spanish national team’s official website confirmed Saul sprained his ankle during the Under-21’s 3-0 defeat to Croatia on Thursday and will not report back to their Murcia training base, having also “been treated with cryotherapy and anti-inflammatory medicine”.
Lucas, meanwhile, is suffering from a “vertebral fracture” in his back, according to the French Football Federation (FFF), and will not be considered for Monday’s European U21 Championship qualifier against Macedonia.
Although recovery times for the two injuries have yet to be determined, the homegrown pair are now in a race against time to be fit for Atleti’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona on April 5.
Jose Maria Gimenez is a certain miss for the trip to Camp Nou, while Diego Godin and Stefan Savic remain sidelined.