Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti remains confident Jude Bellingham is getting stronger every day from his shoulder problem – but feels surgery cannot be ruled out if the issue flares up again.
The England midfielder is enjoying a standout debut campaign with Los Blancos, having scored 15 goals so far in all competitions.
Bellingham, 20, had been sidelined ahead of the international break, missing England’s final Euro 2024 qualifiers, as he managed a dislocated shoulder.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) December 7, 2023
After returning to club duties, the midfielder then picked up an ankle issue during the Champions League win over Napoli.
Bellingham has been doing some training sessions in the gym this week ahead of Saturday’s LaLiga match at Real Betis.
Ancelotti moved to allay any fears over a serious setback, but accepts the club will have to monitor how Bellingham’s shoulder responds to on-going treatment alongside a hectic match schedule.
“Bellingham is working on his own because he still has to recover from the ankle injury he had against Napoli. He has recovered well,” the Real Madrid coach said.
Mi equipo! Muchas gracias a todos!🤍 pic.twitter.com/CmszDGokNb
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) December 5, 2023
“The shoulder is something he has to look after to strengthen it on his own. He hasn’t had any problem to play, and every day that goes by, he is improving in that sense.”
Pressed if Bellingham might need surgery, Ancelotti told a press conference: “Not right now. The shoulder is very particular. If it happens again or keeps happening, maybe, but we will see.”
Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has stepped up his recovery from a thigh injury, but Ukraine international Andriy Lunin could still retain his place between the posts against Betis.
“Nothing has changed with Kepa, we still trust him just as we did. Lunin has shown character and personality,” Ancelotti said.
“The good thing is that we have both, and one could play and the other could. One could play tomorrow, but another another time, there could be rotation.”
𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗹𝗼𝗰𝗸 & 𝗸𝗲𝘆.
— LALIGA English (@LaLigaEN) December 6, 2023
Real head to Betis looking to extend a 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Ancelotti is expecting a stern test from Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who sit seventh and are unbeaten at home in LaLiga so far.
“It will be a difficult game because Betis are doing very well,” Ancelotti said. “Especially at home, they are solid and well organised.
“We have to try to do our best and try to win, to continue our good form that we have had lately. The game will be difficult, but we’re confident of doing a good job.”
— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis_en) December 7, 2023
Former Real Madrid boss Pellegrini is relishing facing his old club.
“They have always been very close matches in the last three years, since I have been here we have lost by one goal, we have tied – and there has been a lot of controversy regarding those goals,” Pellegrini said at a press conference.
“They are very important games for us and I hope we have the opportunity to beat Real Madrid.
“They have been very close games and hopefully tomorrow we will win. If we are not capable, then we will go for the next game.”