Real Madrid is likely to be without midfielder Sami Khedira for the first leg of its Champions League semifinal against Barcelona.
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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."