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Three players that could replace the injured Karim Benzema for Real Madrid



Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

During Real Madrid’s 3-0 victory against Celtic, Madridistas’ worst nightmare came to reality as Karim Benzema suffered a knee injury. The Frenchman was unable to continue playing in his side’s Champions League opener, with Eden Hazard brought on to replace him in the 30th minute.

Despite the Los Blancos skipper being in peak physical condition, being 34 increases the chances of him succumbing to injury. Especially after coming off a season where he started in 43 matches in La Liga and the Champions League alone.

At the start of the 2022/23 campaign as well, the veteran has played every possible minute in the league, which may have led to his current fitness issues.

However, the decorated goalscorer is likely to return to action in around ten days, as per reports from Spain. In the meantime, we have picked the three players that could deputize in Benzema’s absence.

Eden Hazard

The Belgian is perhaps the natural choice to replace the injured Karim Benzema for the time being. Coming on to replace the French international in Real Madrid’s latest contest against Celtic, Eden Hazard thrived as a false nine.

The former Chelsea winger first showcased his class in an unfamiliar role by ghosting past a defender and playing a perfectly timed pass to Luka Modric, who finished with aplomb.

In the 77th minute, Hazard got on the scoresheet himself, as he was well-placed to tap the ball home from close quarters after Dani Carvajal picked him out in acres of space in the box.

Eden Hazard’s ability to drop deep, beat defenders and link play makes him the perfect fit for the false nine role, similar to how the all-conquering Karim Benzema ticks a number of boxes. As a result, the 31-year-old is perhaps the perfect plan B up front, as things stand.

Marco Asensio

As things stand, the Spanish international has played a combined total of 17 mins in La Liga and the Champions League this season.

It is no secret that a key reason why Marco Asensio has been on the periphery of things is due to his contractual situation, as the club look unwilling to extend his deal on his terms.

With the once-wonderkid staying put at Real Madrid, as leaving as a free agent next summer seems in store for him, it would certainly not be the worst idea to utilise the player’s services upfront.

Asensio’s quick feet, intelligent link-up play and powerful ball-striking are all factors that could make him useful as a temporary solution during Benzema’s absence.

In addition, his experience of playing alongside Vinicius Jr., in particular last term, could be worth its weight in gold for the time being.

Mariano Diaz

While it is clear that Diaz is out-of-favour and remains an unpopular choice amongst fans, one must emphasise that in case the aforementioned solutions are not taken, he is the only alternative in place that can be utilised.

Perhaps the saving grace for the 29-year-old remains that much like Benzema, he is a natural number nine.

However, it is next to impossible for Mariano Diaz to even be considered for selection during a crucial chunk of the season.

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MU Shorts

Tchouameni, Camavinga start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Mallorca



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be hoping to cut down the gap to league leaders Barcelona to two points when they face RCD Mallorca at Son Moix on Sunday afternoon.

Los Blancos enjoy a superior record against Javier Aguirre’s side, but have had missteps of late. Meanwhile, Mallorca have won three of their last four matches at home and will pose a stern test to Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Things will be made even more complicated for the reigning Spanish champions as they will have to make do without club captain and ace goalscorer Karim Benzema. Eder Militao, who had been in top form recently, is also out with an injury, as are Ferland Mendy and Eden Hazard.

It will be an important match for the Merengues if they wish to keep up the pressure on their rivals Barcelona. Ahead of this encounter, Madrid Universal takes a look at how Ancelotti might set his team up on Sunday afternoon.


There is just no looking past Thibaut Courtois in goal for Real Madrid. The Belgian has been a consistent and key performer for the champions and will again be crucial if they are to return with three points from Mallorca.

Dani Carvajal made his return from injury in the midweek win against Valencia, coming on from the bench. While David Alaba is back and available, Ancelotti could avoid risking him against Mallorca so that he is fit for the FIFA Club World Cup next week.

As such Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez should form the centre-back pairing for Los Blancos, whereas Eduardo Camavinga should continue in the makeshift left-back role that he has essayed in the past couple of matches.

Back in action. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Moving into the middle of the park, Ancelotti will likely look to reintroduce Aurelien Tchouameni into the starting XI after the midfielder made his return from injury against Valencia.

The 23-year-old Frenchman will slot in as the No. 6 while in-form star Dani Ceballos and Luka Modric could occupy the remaining two spots in midfield. Toni Kroos, who picked up a knock in the previous match, will likely be protected for the Club World Cup.

Benzema’s absence means Rodrygo Goes becomes the obvious choice to line up as the No. 9 against Mallorca. Meanwhile, Vinicius Jr and Marco Asensio, who were the goalscorers for Real Madrid against Valencia, should continue occupying the flanks.

Vinicius · Rodrygo · Asensio
Ceballos · Tchouameni · Modric
Camavinga · Nacho · Rudiger · Carvajal


Federico Valverde will be an option from the bench for Ancelotti to tweak the attack, given that there are no other natural forwards in the squad for tomorrow’s game, apart from the out-of-favour Mariano Diaz.

David Alaba will likely receive some minutes off the bench so that he gets some action under his belt heading into the FIFA Club World Cup. The same should hold for Toni Kroos, who has recovered from the knock he sustained against Valencia.

Jesus Vallejo or Alvaro Odriozola might get a few minutes in case Real Madrid are in the lead and Ancelotti is looking to shut up shop.

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