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Karim Benzema ‘facing uphill battle to be fit for Madrid derby’

Karim Benzema ‘facing uphill battle to be fit for Madrid derby’

Karim Benzema is reportedly losing his battle to be fit for Real Madrid‘s La Liga clash with Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.

The 34-year-old has missed his side’s last two games against Mallorca and RB Leipzig due to the muscular problem that he picked up in the Champions League clash with Celtic on September 6.

Speaking ahead of the match with Leipzig on Wednesday, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said that there was “a chance” of the France international returning for the Madrid derby.

“There’s a chance, as he is evolving well. But he’ll only play if there are no concerns at all,” the Italian told reporters during his press conference before the European affair.

Meanwhile, when asked about the striker after the match, Ancelotti said that he would be ‘evaluated over the next few days’ before a final decision was made.

Karim Benzema celebrates scoring for Real Madrid on August 28, 2022© Reuters

“We’ll evaluate him over the coming days, but we’re not going to risk him for the derby if he’s not ready,” said the Italian on Wednesday night.

Real Madrid had a recovery training session on Thursday morning, with Benzema still absent, and according to journalist Carlos Rodriguez, the Frenchman is facing an uphill battle to be available this weekend.

Rodriguez claims that the forward is still working inside with a physiotherapist, and it ‘will be difficult’ for him to recover from his injury in time to take on Diego Simeone‘s side.

Benzema has again been in strong form for Los Blancos during the 2022-23 campaign, scoring four goals and registering one assist in six appearances in all competitions.

Meanwhile, an impressive 2021-22 season saw the former Lyon youngster score 44 goals and register 15 assists in 46 appearances, helping his side win La Liga, the Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup.

Real Madrid's Eder Militao during the warm up before the match in May 2022© Reuters

Eder Militao has also missed Real Madrid’s last two matches through injury, but the Brazil international was back in training on Thursday morning and is set to be available for this game.

Ancelotti now faces the decision of whether to recall the 24-year-old to his starting side for the derby match or keep Antonio Rudiger in the team alongside David Alaba in the middle of the defence.

Lucas Vazquez is Real Madrid’s only confirmed absentee for this match, with the Spaniard picking up a thigh problem that will rule him out until after the international break.

Should Benzema miss out, Rodrygo could continue through the middle for Los Blancos this weekend, although Eden Hazard and Mariano Diaz are also options in that area of the field.

Real Madrid have won all eight of their matches this season across three separate competitions, including five in La Liga, which has left them top of the table heading into the next set of fixtures.

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