Real Madrid have suffered a huge injury blow ahead of the Spanish capital derby on Saturday evening against Atletico Madrid, with midfielder Luka Modric in a race against time to be fit for the game.
It is thought the Croatia international returned from representing his country with an injury and has been able to play no part in training in the lead up to this weekend's showdown, with the news reported by journalist Lucas Navarrete.
The 32-year-old, who has been pivotal in his nation's qualification through to the World Cup finals in Russia next summer, looks likely to miss out on Los Blancos' chance to close the gap on league leaders Barcelona, which currently stands at eight points.
Luka Modric not training with the squad just two days ahead of the Madrid Derby against Atlético de Madrid.— Lucas Navarrete (@LucasNavarreteM) November 16, 2017
But Modric's downfall could well provide an opening for fellow Real midfielder Dani Ceballos, who shone once again during Spain Under-21's 5-1 victory over their Slovakian counterparts earlier this week.
The youthful central midfielder has already made two starts for the current La Liga holders under boss Zinedine Zidane this season, with five more appearances spread across the Spanish top flight and the Champions League coming from the substitutes' bench.
The 21-year-old also continued his impressive form in front of goal on Tuesday, netting a hat-trick for his nation's development side, adding to the vital domestic brace he notched during Los Blancos' 2-1 win over Alaves earlier this term.
Since then Ceballos, who arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium this summer from Real Betis for around €16.5m (£14.6m), has only been able to secure a place in his French manager's opening XI once, coming during their 3-0 destruction of Eibar.
However, the young Spaniard may well get his chance once again, and be well and truly thrown into the lion's den, as Real travel to Atleti's new Wanda Metropolitano for the first time on Saturday for what is expected to be a classic.