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Benzema set to miss Real Madrid vs RCD Mallorca, Hazard to start

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

As per the latest reports from AS, Real Madrid will be without club captain and ace goalscorer Karim Benzema for their upcoming La Liga clash against RCD Mallorca after he picked up an injury on Tuesday. Eden Hazard is likely to start in place of the French superstar.

Real Madrid cruised to a 3-0 win over Celtic in their UEFA Champions League opener at Parkhead on Tuesday. However, the win came at the expense of Benzema’s injury, with the UEFA Player of the Year being subbed off just thirty minutes into the contest due to a knee issue.

Following the game, reports emerged that the Real Madrid doctors were optimistic that the issue was not a major one. However, it looks like the 34-year-old superstar will be unable to recover in time for Real Madrid’s upcoming La Liga clash.

Los Blancos will lock horns with RCD Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday afternoon. And as per the aforementioned report, Benzema is unlikely to be available for the encounter on matchday five of La Liga.

In his place, Eden Hazard, who replaced Benzema after his injury against Celtic, is in line to feature from kickoff.

The champions of Spain and Europe do not have a natural centre-forward to cover for Benzema, having failed to sign anyone in the summer. While Mariano Diaz is on the squad, the 29-year-old is no longer favoured by manager Carlo Ancelotti.

But the form that Hazard displayed at Celtic Park will come as somewhat as a relief for Los Blancos. The Belgian international was one of Real Madrid’s better performers on the night and capped off the display with a goal.

With Benzema set to be unavailable, Ancelotti and Real Madrid will need Hazard to carry on from where he left off in Scotland and stake a claim for more regular involvement after a slow start to the season.

The Merengues have won each of their four La Liga matches so far and will be eager to continue that run and keep their lead over rivals Barcelona intact.

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Features

Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.

Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.

After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.

Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.

As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia.

1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal

Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.

Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.

For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.

The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.

The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.

His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.

With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.

2. Concern shifts from right to left-back

The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.

Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.

Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.

David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.

The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.

Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.

3. No margin for error

Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.

Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.

The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.

Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.

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