Zinedine Zidane says he has been personally affected by the injury to Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, while injured James Rodriguez has been left out of the squad to face Real Betis.
Ramos is expected to be out for around a month after suffering a Grade II sprain to the MCL in his left knee while on duty with Spain last week.
Zidane rued the problem for the defender, which comes at a time when Madrid have drawn four consecutive matches in all competitions.
“It has affected me a lot this injury to Sergio – I am upset,” Zidane said at his pre-match media conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to play Betis in LaLiga.
“He’s our captain, a very important player. He always gives everything on the pitch and it really bothers me he is not with us.
“He’s doing everything he can to get back to us as quick as possible. We cannot do anything other than hope to see him return quickly.
“It’s not fair he gets criticised. When you are a great player there is always criticism but whether it is fair or not is another thing.
“He’s an important player – always available to do everything you ask from him and a great player for this club.
“He has always delivered. That’s how I feel and he’s working hard to be back with us.”
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) October 14, 2016
Zidane insisted he had no issue with James’ long trip to Colombia even though he was not passed fit to play for them during the international break.
The attacking midfielder – who is recovering from a calf problem – was subsequently left out of the 19-man squad to take on Betis, but is close to a return.
The head coach added: “We haven’t had any problems apart from James – he went away a with a little bit of an injury and has come back a little bit better.
“In his head James thought he could play for his country and it’s understandable that he took the trip.
“He went but the good thing is he was intelligent enough to say he wasn’t ready to play. The 22,000km is no problem really, is it? That is just part of the life of a player.”
However, Zidane reported that the rest of Madrid’s squad are in good shape.
He continued: “I think they are in good shape, all of them. The rest we haven’t really had any problems. We’re ready, we’ve had only a short time to prepare for this game but that is normal.
“We know that when there is an international break it is like that. The important thing is to do well with the days that you do have.
“Marcelo is ready, that’s the good news. He’s ready, training with us and he’s a very important player. He can give us a lot and we’re going to try and take advantage of everything we can from him.”
Real Madrid squad to face Real Betis:
Navas, Casilla, Yanez, Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Danilo, Kroos, Kovacic, Asensio, Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Vazquez, Mariano, Morata.