International Soccer

Why Vinicius Junior isn’t playing for Real Madrid today

Real Madrid will be looking to move eight points clear of Barcelona once again this Sunday when they host Athletic Club in La Liga.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side look set to steal the title from Clasico rivals Barca this season and can take a big step towards a record 36th La Liga crown with victory this weekend.

However, Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Club will be a difficult proposition for Madrid, even at the Santiago Bernabeu, and the 14-time European champions will have to secure all three points without Vinicius Junior.

Here is why the Brazilian superstar won’t be playing against Athletic Club.

Vinicius Junior

Vinicius Jr. featured for Brazil over the international period / Ion Alcoba Beitia/GettyImages

With long-term injuries having been a real thorn in Real’s side this season, supporters will be relieved that Vinicius isn’t absent due to a fitness issue. The Brazilian will miss the visit of Athletic Club this Sunday, but only because he has picked up a one-game ban for accumulating too many yellow cards.

The 23-year-old was handed his fifth yellow card of this La Liga season during the 4-2 victory over Osasuna prior to the March international break, booked during the victory in Pamplona for dissent.

Real Madrid aren’t in action after this weekend’s clash until the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Manchester City, for which his suspension wouldn’t have been applicable, but Vinicius will be available for their next La Liga match against Mallorca on 13 April.

While the exciting forward will be a big miss for Real today, the good news for Ancelotti is that Jude Bellingham returns from his two-game suspension against Athletic Club, providing a boost to Madrid’s attacking options ahead of a clash with the league’s second-most stubborn defence.

Thibaut Courtois, Dani Ceballos, Eder Militao and David Alaba are all sidelined though, but Eduardo Camavinga should be fit after picking up a knock with France over the international period.

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