MADRID: Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has completed his recovery from injury and could feature as a substitute in Wednesday’s La Liga match at home to Sevilla, coach Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday.
The 31-year-old Spain international missed June’s Confederations Cup to have surgery on a groin problem and then broke a bone in his foot in training in August.
“He is available,” Ancelotti told a news conference.
“He is training with the team and I think tomorrow he will start on the bench and I will try to give him minutes during the game.
“He has all the necessary quality to help the team play better. He has experience, passing quality and a good defensive attitude. He is a very important player for us.”
A consummate passer, Alonso has been a key performer for Real in his central midfield role since joining in 2009 and they have struggled to exert the same level of control over opponents in his absence.
Ancelotti has had to rely on Croatia international Luka Modric, Germany’s Sami Khedira and new signing Asier Illarramendi and the club’s domestic campaign has got off to a stuttering start.
Third-placed Real are six points behind leaders Barcelona, who play at Celta Vigo, after they were beaten 2-1 by their arch rivals at the Nou Camp on Saturday.
Atletico Madrid are second, five clear of Real and a point behind Barca ahead of their match at Granada on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid’s Brazil-born forward Diego Costa has signed a letter underlining his intention to play for adopted country Spain.
“The player communicates in the letter addressed to Julio Cesar Avellada, secretary general of the Brazilian soccer federation (CBF), his wish to be available to the Spanish national team,” the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) told the domestic website (www.sefutbol.com) yesterday.
“Diego Costa will be able to play for Spain ... if the coach (Vicente del Bosque) deems it opportune.”
Costa, 25, who has Brazilian and Spanish passports, has been in excellent form for Atletico this season and is the top scorer in La Liga with 11 goals after 10 matches.
His first chance to play for the world and European champions could come on November 19 when they are due to play a friendly against South Africa at Soccer City in Johannesburg, scene of their maiden World Cup triumph in 2010.