Real Madrid’s Pepe was hauled off due to a hamstring injury in the first half of the Los Blancos’ 4-1 thrashing of Deportivo Alaves and is now expected to be ruled out for several weeks hence missing some of his side’s crucial clashes over the next one month.

During Real Madrid’s 4-1 comeback victory over Deportivo Alaves, Pepe was forced to leave the action in the first half itself due to a hamstring injury and the club have since confirmed that the player could be out for several weeks. Spanish reports further accentuate the club’s statement with reports indicating he could be out for four to six weeks.

That would effectively rule the Portuguese out of action for the El Clasico and even the Madrid derby and could potentially see his return only after the turn of the year. The Los Blancos also participate in the FIFA Club World Cup taking place in Japan from 8-18 December 2016 and the estimated period of Pepe’s absence indicates that he could be ruled out of a trip to the far east as well.

The club in an official statement confirmed that Pepe’s was a “grade 2” injury after carrying out the tests for the same on Monday morning. “After tests carried out today on Pepe, he has been diagnosed with a grade 2 muscle injury in the femoral biceps of his left leg,” the statement said. “His recovery will continue to be monitored.” The 33-year-old will also miss Portugal’s World Cup qualifying match against Latvia in the process to add to his absence in the domestic scene.

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 10: Pepe of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring Real's 4th goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and CA Osasuna at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 10, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

MADRID, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 10: Pepe of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring Real’s 4th goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and CA Osasuna at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 10, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

With Pepe and Sergio Ramos both sidelined due to injury, the Los Blancos only have Raphael Varane and Nacho Fernandez to fill in as centre-halves and with a crowded fixture over the next month. Varane hasn’t particularly been impressive this campaign with the Frenchman often showcasing a penchant for the odd defensive error that eventually leads to a goal-scoring opportunity.

Hence, Zidane will hope Ramos can fast-track his recovery and give some much needed solidity at the back. Moreover he’ll hope Pepe’s injury isn’t as serious as initially projected. The Portuguese has been in superb nick for the Los Blancos this season and only time will tell whether he can return in time for some of Real Madrid’s crunch encounters over the next one month.

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