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Rival watch: Barcelona defender ruled out of El Clasico against Real Madrid

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona will clash against each other in La Liga next month at the Santiago Bernabeu.

And ahead of the pivotal encounter, Barcelona have been dealt with injury setbacks in the ongoing international break. Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay were forced to leave the Netherlands’ camp due to injuries, while Uruguay defender Ronald Araujo came off the pitch against Iran.

Another name on the list is Jules Kounde, who sustained an injury against Austria in a Nations League clash on Thursday. And as per a report by AS, the Frenchman will be out of action for four to five weeks, meaning he is all set to miss the El Clasico against Real Madrid on October 16th.

Kounde suffered a thigh injury and returned to Barcelona last evening before undergoing examinations at the club’s training facilities earlier today. And the report states that the French defender is set to miss the vital clash against Real Madrid.

It has been suggested that further tests will take place on Monday to provide a more accurate diagnosis of the former Sevilla defender’s latest fitness woe.

This development comes as a major boost to Real Madrid ahead of their much-anticipated encounter against Barça on October 16. With the two clubs neck-to-neck in the La Liga title race, Kounde’s absence gives an advantage to Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Indeed, the 23-year-old’s contributions at right-back have proven key so far for Barcelona, even though he was signed as a centre-half.

Considering Hector Bellerin and Sergi Roberto are not as reliable from a defensive standpoint, the former Sevilla will be a big miss in the match against Real Madrid, as well as the clashes against the likes of Inter Milan and Celta Vigo.

Depay will also miss the Clasico next month, although de Jong is expected to recover in time for the encounter. Doubts remain over Araujo’s involvement in the high-profile encounter, although the Uruguayan is said to be willing to push himself to face Real Madrid.

Los Blancos are currently ahead of Barcelona in the title race by two points, having won all of their league matches so far this season. They will hope to stretch that advantage when the two clubs collide next month.

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Real Madrid News

“Even Cristiano could not stand the training that he does” – Personal trainer praises Benzema

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Karim Benzema will not be a part of the Real Madrid squad traveling to Morocco for the FIFA Club World Cup this week. He will remain in the Spanish capital in order to recover from the muscular injury he suffered during the game against Valencia.

In light of his injury, Benzema’s personal trainer Javier Atalaya spoke to the media (h/t Mundo Deportivo), confirming that the forward is getting better every day and is recovering well from the knock.

“We are calm with Benzema because it is not a serious injury. Karim is getting better every day. He is at home, having nothing to do, and he goes down to the gym to train,” Atalaya said. “The Frenchman’s mentality is to improve every day”.

Atalaya, who was also the personal trainer of Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at Real Madrid, added that some of Benzema’s training sessions even surpass that of Ronaldo.

“Even Cristiano could not stand the training that Benzema does,” said Atalaya, who has worked closely with a variety of top players across Europe.

Benzema, who has retired from international football following a row with the French national team during the World Cup, has had struggles with his fitness this season. He has missed a number of matches in La Liga, which has led to Real Madrid’s inconsistency in the league.

But Los Blancos will be hoping to have the Frenchman back as soon as possible, especially ahead of a crucial UEFA Champions League knockout round encounter against Liverpool.

In the meantime, Real Madrid will focus on the FIFA Club World Cup this week, with the European champions set to take on Al Ahly in the semifinal in Rabat this evening.

Rodrygo, who has recently professed his desire to win the Club World Cup, is expected to deputise for the injured Benzema in the coming matches.

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