The Straits Times
Published on Oct 19, 2012

'Fifa virus' hits Madrid's pursuit of Barcelona


MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid are battling an injury crisis ahead of their home clash with Celta Vigo on Saturday as World Cup duty threatens the team's La Liga pursuit of bitter rivals Barcelona.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho faces the loss of up to seven of the 19 players who went off on international duty after the vital 2-2 draw with Barcelona in their last league game.

It's a problem which has left "los blancos" the main victims of what the Spanish press have dubbed the "Fifa virus".

Despite the draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou two weeks ago, Madrid still have an eight-point gap to make up on their Catalan rivals, a task made even more difficult by the loss of so many key defenders.