Losing a superstar to injury in any sport is one of the toughest things to swallow for a team. Imagine what would happen if the Denver Broncos lost Peyton Manning, if the Miami Heat lost LeBron James or the Detroit Tigers had to go without Miguel Cabrera, even for a short period of time.
Well, Real Madrid is now having to deal with that circumstance, as it was reported by the Spanish newspaper AS.
BREAKING: Cristiano will miss Wednesday's Copa del Rey final after suffering a thigh muscle tear. He faces 15 days on the sidelines.— AS English (@English_AS) April 10, 2014
Fifteen days is a long time to be without your superstar. That means he'll miss at least Real Madrid's next two games, including the April 16 Copa del Rey Final against Barcelona.
Per SoccerBase, Ronaldo has scored 11 goals since February 26. But, according to Fox News Latino, Ronaldo was in visible pain in Los Blancos' April 2 match against Borussia Dortmund, forcing him to be subbed with 10 minutes to play.
Since then, the club has gone 1-1, with a win over Real Sociedad in La Liga play but a loss to Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal.
"After Cristiano Ronaldo underwent tests, a muscular injury to his left hamstring has been detected," confirmed a club statement on Thursday, per the Associated Press (h/t The Guardian).
Los Blancos are at a critical stage of their season. The 15-day timeline means Ronaldo's return could come on April 26, when the club faces Osasuna in La Liga play.
But he'll for sure be out for the Copa del Rey Final against the club's arch-rival, FC Barcelona. You never want to be without your best player for your biggest match of the year up to this point.
Barcelona is hot enough as it is, going 6-1-1 in its last eight matches, including a 4-3 win over Real Madrid on March 23. Despite the loss, Ronaldo still scored a goal in that game.
How will Real Madrid fare without Ronaldo?
Not only does Real Madrid have to go without its superstar for its match against Barcelona, its also losing him during a crucial period in the hunt for the La Liga crown. Right now, Los Blancos are currently three points behind league-leading Atletico Madrid for first place with just six matches left.
Ronaldo will miss at least one, if not two or three games of Spanish-league play. And that could very well prove to be the nail in the coffin for Los Blancos.
Perhaps the biggest issue surrounding Ronaldo's injury is that there is no set plan in place for a replacement. The team subbed in Carlos Casemiro when Ronaldo went down on April 2, but he has limited experience. The lack of an overall plan to replace Ronaldo is part of the problem that Los Blancos are facing.
Real Madrid simply can't afford to be without their star player for as long as they will be. They'll likely take a loss in the Copa del Rey Final to their arch-rival, and they'll probably lose too much ground to make up in the race for the La Liga crown.