Madrid midfielder Khedira likely out for Barcelona

Real Madrid is likely to be without midfielder Sami Khedira for

the first leg of its Champions League semifinal against

Barcelona.

Khedira was left out of the squad for Saturday’s league match at

Valencia with what coach Jose Mourinho called a muscle injury that

compromises his chances of making next Wednesday’s match at the

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

”Tomorrow he can’t play and I can practically guarantee he

won’t play on Wednesday unless a miracle happens, as it usually

needs to with muscular injuries,” Mourinho said on Friday.

The Germany midfielder played a key role in Madrid’s 1-0 win

over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final.

Khedira, Xabi Alonso and Pepe created a defensive bloc that

helped neutralize Barcelona’s dangerous attack, which didn’t manage

a shot for the first 51 minutes of the domestic cup final.

Spanish reports suggested Khedira tore a thigh muscle and could

miss the rest of the season, but Mourinho would not confirm the

extent of his injury.

”Whenever a player is injured it’s bad news, it limits the team

and the coach’s work,” Mourinho said. ”Obviously we’re sad for

him and for us but to say that he won’t return this season is

absurd.”

Angel Di Maria and Emmanuel Adebayor will also miss Saturday’s

match because of injury while Mourinho left defender Sergio Ramos

out to provide a rest. Mourinho can likely count on Lassana Diarra

in Khedira’s place after the France midfielder returned from injury

to train on Friday.

Mourinho urged his players to put Madrid’s cup win behind them

and focus on the league again, as the club trails leader Barcelona

by eight points with six rounds left.

”Tomorrow is the game we have to play, and think about it. We

won the cup and it’s over. The happiness we feel from winning the

cup is finished,” Mourinho said. ”I’m not thinking about

Wednesday’s game yet, there’s still lots of time left to go.”