Atletico Madrid are facing a defensive injury crisis ahead of the Madrid derby after Jose Maria Gimenez was ruled out with an ankle injury.

The centre-back limped off for Uruguay during the March international break with the problem and has been unable to feature for Los Rojiblancos since.

Marca (h/t Football Espana) has now reported that Gimenez will miss the clash with fierce city rivals Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday to the persistent injury and leaves Diego Simeone with only four fit defenders for the away trip.

Filipe Luis and Sime Vrsaljko are also unavailable for selection with a fractured leg and sprained ankle ligaments respectively - injuries that mean Simeone must stick with the quartet he does have fit and available.

The Argentine will, therefore, opt for a back four of Juanfran, Diego Godin, Stefan Savic and Lucas Hernandez to take on Zinedine Zidane's men in what appears to be a battle for the runners-up spot in La Liga.

Barcelona are leading the chasing pack with eight matches of the season to go, and Atleti are their closest challengers for the league crown as they sit nine points off the Catalan giants.


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Real, however, are only four points behind their fellow Spanish capital outfit and a win for Zidane's charges this weekend would move them just one point behind Simeone's squad.

Gimenez had been an ever present in Simeone's starting lineup since he returned from a muscle issue in late December, but did not feature in the 1-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna on 1st April as he received treatment on his ankle.

The 41-times capped international only played eight minutes in his national side's 1-0 win over Wales in the China Cup on 26th March before having to be replaced by Sebastien Coates, and it is unclear just how long Gimenez will spend on the treatment table before he is able to return.