Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema will miss Clasico against Barcelona because of injury

Karim Benzema will miss Real Madrid‘s El Clasico conflict with Barcelona on Sunday (stream LIVE at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN+ within the U.S.) with a calf injury.

The ahead — who was damage after scoring twice in Madrid’s 3-0 win at Mallorca on Monday — was unable to coach together with his teammates on Saturday, of their final session earlier than the high-profile fixture.

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Benzema, 34, is LaLiga’s prime scorer with 22 targets, in addition to offering 11 assists, and his absence is a blow for Madrid as they give the impression of being to shut in on the title.

“We by no means take dangers,” coach Carlo Ancelotti stated in a information convention on Saturday. “Tomorrow [Benzema] cannot play because he hasn’t educated, he feels some discomfort. It’s a small injury… [Gareth Bale] is one of the options. We have Mariano [Diaz], now we have [Luka] Jovic, I’ve performed Isco and Rodrygo there too. There are so much of choices.”

“Karim is 34 years outdated, it could possibly occur,” he added. “It does not fear me, now we have two weeks now to work with him. We have time to get him prepared for the top of the season, and he’ll come again and make the distinction like at all times.”

Madrid go into El Clasico prime of the desk, 15 factors forward of Barcelona, and have gained their previous 5 video games in all competitions.

However, Barca’s kind has additionally considerably improved below coach Xavi — after a rocky begin to the season with predecessor Ronald Koeman — and haven’t misplaced in LaLiga since December.

“The id of [Barcelona] will not change, it by no means does,” Ancelotti stated. “They have a transparent model of play. Xavi is doing properly. The staff has improved so much they usually’re in good kind proper now… We’ll must play an all-round sport: defend properly, press properly, play properly with the ball, convey it out from the again, be direct. A whole sport.”

The final time the 2 sides met, in January’s Spanish Supercopa semifinals, Madrid gained 3-2 after additional time.

Madrid will even be with out left-back Ferland Mendy, who picked up a hamstring injury against Mallorca, though winger Rodrygo, who needed to be carried off throughout the identical sport, educated on Saturday and is predicted to be accessible.

Madrid’s confidence was buoyed by their dramatic 3-1 comeback win against Paris Saint-Germain of their Champions League round-of-16 second leg final week, wherein Benzema scored a 17-minute hat trick.

Friday’s Champions League quarterfinal draw noticed them paired with Chelsea within the quarterfinals, earlier than a doable semifinal against both Manchester City or Atletico Madrid.

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