Karim Benzema’s injury against Celtic in Glasgow last week came as a major blow for Real Madrid. The 34-year-old is one of the most pivotal cogs in Carlo Ancelotti’s side with no cover and backup for his position in the squad.
So, his getting injured was always going to sting the Merengues. However, it would be safe to say that they have, at least so far, have navigated the period without their ace goalscorer fairly successfully.
Los Blancos beat Celtic 3-0, with all goals coming after Benzema’s substitution. They also triumphed over RCD Mallorca this past weekend, banging in four goals in the La Liga clash.
While signs on the pitch are positive, it seems like they have plenty of reasons for optimism with Benzema’s recovery from his injury as well. Indeed, as reported by MARCA, the French international’s rehabilitation is progressing very well so far.
The Frenchman underwent his training indoors on Tuesday while the rest of the group toughed it out on the pitch ahead of the UEFA Champions League clash against RB Leipzig later tonight, which he will miss.
Benzema did step out for a bit but quickly returned inside, although there is a chance that he might train on the grass today. Despite the progress shown, though, the striker’s involvement in the derby against Atletico Madrid at the weekend seems highly unlikely.
The Real Madrid superstar has previously played with an injury in important games as he did against PSG last season. However, he and the team are reluctant to take any risk with his recovery this time out.
So, Benzema will only be considered for selection against Atletico only if he is 100% fit. The international break coming up will afford him an extended two-week break to recuperate, provided he does not opt to join the France squad for their UEFA Nations league encounters.
For now, though, the 34-year-old hitman is recovering quickly and it bodes well for Real Madrid.
Key Real Madrid defender still not 100% fit ahead of Club World Cup semi-final – report
Carlo Ancelotti heads into the FIFA Club World Cup in a pressure cooker situation. The pressure on the manager’s shoulders is immense, for his job could be on the line after Real Madrid’s poor run of form.
The injury situation does not favour the Italian tactician either. Lucas Vazquez, Ferland Mendy, Karim Benzema, Eder Militao and even Thibaut Courtois are out of the semi-final against Al Ahly, leaving him very few options to play with.
According to reports from Jorge C Picon, David Alaba too is not completely fit yet. The Austrian International was given the medical all-clear and entered the squad for Real Madrid’s game against Mallorca, yet started on the bench as he was not at 100%, and that remains the case ahead of tonight’s clash.
The report, however, adds that his mere inclusion in the squad comes as a breather for Ancelotti. Alaba is highly valued by the technical staff, not only for his reading of the game on the field but also for his leadership.
The defender has already missed seven games for Los Blancos since sustaining a muscular injury against Villarreal at La Ceramica. He did indeed come off the bench for under half an hour against Mallorca, but will likely not be risked to start on Thursday.
In his absence, Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger are expected to take centre stage in defence in Morocco. Eduardo Camavinga, meanwhile, could start as left-back again.
Alaba has played 17 games for Los Blancos this season and was one of the players with the most minutes until his injury. In his league campaign so far, he has scored one goal and provided three assists while also averaging a key pass every ninety minutes.
It remains to be seen if the Austrian recovers completely in time for the Club World Cup final should the European Champions make it. As it stands, using a cautious approach is in Real Madrid’s best interest.