Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni played the entire second half of El Clasico against Barcelona with a broken metatarsal, but neglected to mention it to the doctors.
The French midfielder has been crucial this season for Los Blancos, starting off as the de facto pivot for Carlo Ancelotti since the start of the season. Tchouameni struggled with fitness in the second half of the campaign last season after the World Cup, and never found his best form.
Yet this year he has once again shown his importance to Real Madrid, and ultimately that the future belongs to him and Eduardo Camavinga. His compatriot is likely to take over for the next two months, after his foot injury. Tchouameni’s agent Jonathan Kebe explained the series of events that led to him not being substituted.
“He felt something (in the first half) but it wasn’t a big deal and then, during the game, it got worse,” Kebe told The Athletic.
It had been suggested that the injury might have occurred during a challenge with Gavi, but Tchouameni himself dismissed that idea on social media.
“It wasn’t because of Gavi. He didn’t say anything (at half-time) because, as the team was losing, he wanted to win. But he didn’t know. When you are playing you don’t feel it, it’s when you stop and take off your shoes.”
It appears to be a common theme for Real Madrid’s defenders to play through pain. Last season Antonio Rudiger needed stitches to get through the rest of a game with Shakhtar Donetsk, while it has recently emerged that Fran Garcia played through an injury for a full month before the medical staff stepped in, such was his desire to keep going.