Real Madrid finally appear to be putting together some form defensively after struggling for much the season. That has been down to the adaptation of Antonio Rudiger, who is finally looking more settled, but he might have had more time to do so had it not been for the injuries of David Alaba.
Alaba and Eder Militao were the bedrock for Real Madrid last season, but the former has barely been fit during 2023, and after being kept out for several weeks, was injured on his return against Liverpool towards the end of February.
The Austrian only returned to action for his national side against Estonia this week. He has admitted that he too began to wonder what was wrong with him. Alaba has only once missed more games in his career, when he underwent surgery while at Bayern Munich.
“I also questioned myself and drew conclusions. Maybe it was a bit too soon. I played a lot of matches, every three days in a row. Maybe I should have the matches a bit differently.”
Marca carried his comments, and while it seems to imply he has been through a tricky few months, Alaba’s overriding emotion was happiness.
“I am very happy to be back on the pitch. I worked hard for that. We have very important games ahead of us in the League, in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League and we still have goals this season that we want to achieve.”
Real Madrid are 12 points off the pace in La Liga, and appear to be focusing their attention on the cup competitions.
Given Rudiger is now more settled, it is not yet clear what kind of role Alaba will play from here until the end of the season. With Ferland Mendy recovering from injury too, Alaba looks more likely to start either at left-back or potentially on the bench.