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Carlo Ancelotti: ‘Karim Benzema could be fit for Madrid derby’

Carlo Ancelotti: ‘Karim Benzema could be fit for Madrid derby’

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that Karim Benzema could be fit for next weekend’s Madrid derby with Atletico Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano.

The France international picked up a thigh problem during the team’s Champions League clash with Celtic on Tuesday night, which led to him being replaced in the 30th minute.

Benzema will be absent for Sunday’s La Liga game with Mallorca, in addition to the European contest against RB Leipzig next week.

However, Ancelotti has said that the 34-year-old could be fit against Diego Simeone‘s side depending on how his recovery progresses over the next few days.

“We will see if Benzema can play the derby on Sunday. If not he will not go with France,” Ancelotti told reporters.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema pictured on September 6, 2022© Reuters

“They are things that can happen to footballers. Last year he also had a small problem in December and I think that we covered him well. Without him the team played well against Celtic.

“A natural replacement for Karim we do not have, because he is the best forward in the world. There is no substitute for him on the market, but you can substitute him with players with different characteristics.”

Eden Hazard replaced Benzema off the bench against Celtic, with the Belgium international finding the back of the net in an impressive display, and he will start against Mallorca.

“Hazard did well against Celtic. Tomorrow I will play him. Let’s hope he can have a great game,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“Against Celtic, we did not have the same system. It might be that Hazard does not have the same run of goals that Karim has because it has been a while since he played. I am going to ask him to play well, as he did against Celtic, in order to maintain the good offensive attitude.”

Real Madrid's Eden Hazard pictured on July 23, 2022© Reuters

There had been some doubt over Thibaut Courtois‘s involvement this weekend after the Belgian international picked up a small issue with his knee.

However, Ancelotti confirmed that the team’s number one goalkeeper would start against Mallorca.

“He had a small problem in his knee and did not train that day. But he will play tomorrow. Courtois trained today, he’s fine. His problem was minor,” the Italian added.

Real Madrid have won all six of their matches at the start of this season, including the UEFA Super Cup against Eintracht Frankfurt last month.

Meanwhile, the reigning Spanish champions have been victorious in all four of their league matches this term to sit atop the table with 12 points from a possible 12.

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