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Karim Benzema returns but duo still absent for Real Madrid against Shakhtar Donetsk

Karim Benzema returns but duo still absent for Real Madrid against Shakhtar Donetsk

Karim Benzema has returned to the Real Madrid squad for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.

The France international missed out against Getafe in La Liga at the weekend, with head coach Carlo Ancelotti deciding to rest him due to muscular fatigue.

Benzema is back in the squad for this contest, though, with Real Madrid looking to make it four straight victories in the group stage and secure their spot in the knockout round of the competition.

“Karim is fine and it is clear that tomorrow he starts,” said Ancelotti when questioned on the fitness of the centre-forward during his pre-match press conference.

The 34-year-old has scored four times in eight appearances for the reigning European and Spanish champions this season, but he is yet to find the back of the net in the Champions League.

Eder Militao celebrates scoring for Real Madrid on October 8, 2022© Reuters

Eder Militao, who scored the winner against Getafe in the league at the weekend, is also in the squad despite Ancelotti claiming that the centre-back was suffering with ‘muscle spasms’.

The Real Madrid head coach will not take any chances with the Brazilian’s fitness ahead of El Clasico, so Antonio Rudiger could potentially line up alongside David Alaba in the middle of the defence.

However, Thibaut Courtois remains out of action, with the Belgium international not risked due to a troublesome back problem, which has seen him miss his side’s three matches.

“Courtois is much better, the plan is to start training on Thursday and be ready for Sunday. We’ve talked to him and he’s much better,” said Ancelotti on Monday, with the stopper in line to return against Barcelona.

Thibaut Courtois in action for Real Madrid on August 10, 2022© Reuters

Andriy Lunin will therefore start between the sticks once again, and Ancelotti has praised the Ukraine international ahead of the contest with Shakhtar.

“I always talk to Lunin because he plays well. He is young and has a lot of quality,” said the Italian.

“He is very shy, and does not talk much. It is normal that everything that happens impacts him. The only thing we can do is to support him.”

As well as Courtois, Dani Ceballos remains on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, although the Spanish midfielder could be back in early November, with the issue not believed to be as serious as initially thought.

Real Madrid squad vs. Shakhtar Donetsk:

Lunin, Lopez, Canizares; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Vallejo, Nacho, Odriozola, Rudiger, Mendy; Kroos, Modric, Camavinga, Valverde, Vazquez, Tchouameni; Hazard, Benzema, Asensio, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Mariano

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