Poor old Gabriel Heinze. Literally walked to the border by Manchester United, the Argentine defender must have thought himself lucky when he was rapidly gathering games under Bernd Schuster at Real Madrid. Indeed, his successive good performances in La Liga must have cemented his starting place in Schuster’s large but somewhat unsettled squad.
Now ESPN Soccernet reports that Heinze will be out of action for at least five weeks with a torn muscle in his left leg – an injury sustained in the 2-0 win over Real Zaragoza at the Bernabeu on Sunday. The versatile defender, who can play at left-back or as a central defender, has managed just six starts since his move from Manchester United in the summer but was gradually grooving into the Real side.
His absence wouldn’t quite lead to Schuster reshuffling his backline but the five-week absence could prove detrimental to Heinze’s chances of regaining first-team football. Schuster has an array of defenders waiting in the wings and shouldn’t miss him. Royston Drenthe, Miguel Torres and Marcelo all are capable players who could easily fill the left-back slot.