Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed midfielder Luka Modric will be back in his squad against Schalke 04 next week, but went on to reveal that Norwegian wonderkid Martin Odegaard will not be named on the Champions League roster.
Modric has been sidelined since November after suffering a hip injury during Croatia’s EURO 2016 qualifier against Italy. The midfielder returned to first-team training a few weeks ago. But, despite Madrid’s lackluster performances, Ancelotti has elected not to rush Modric back into the squad and adopted a cautious approach with the influential player.
“Luka [Modric] isn’t in the squad this weekend,” Ancelotti revealed. “He’ll be there against Schalke. I’ve doubts between Illarramendi, Lucas [Silva] and [Sami] Khedira.”
When asked his thoughts about Odegaard and the possibility of the teenager making his Champions League debut on Tuesday, Ancelotti responded: “He’s doing well, following his program. He’s got character and quality.”
“He’s only been here a while. I don’t think he will be in the squad for Tuesday because Modric is back and the list is pretty full.”
After naming Odegaard to his Champions League squad for the knockout stages, Ancelotti omitted the Norway international from his 20-man squad which traveled to Germany just a few weeks ago.
Speculation this week was the manager and club officials were debating whether or not to add the 16-year-old to Madrid’s match day squad for Tuesday’s return leg against Schalke.
If Odegaard had featured for Real Madrid, he would have become the youngest player ever in the history of the Champions League. But it is now apparent that distinction will remain with Chelsea defender Celestine Babayaro, who was 16 years and 87 days old when he played for Anderlecht against Steaua Bucharest in 1994.
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