Carlo Ancelotti refuses to rule out Karim Benzema from Real Madrid derby against rivals Atletico after stumbling in victory over Celtic with a thigh problem… despite fears he could be out for a month
- Carlo Ancelotti thinks Karim Benzema could be back next week
- Frenchman could return from thigh problem for Atletico Madrid clash
- He was taken off injured after half an hour of Real Madrid’s win over Celtic
- Italian manager said there was no ‘natural replacement’ for Benzema
Karim Benzema could be back for a week on Sunday for Real Madrid’s derby with city rivals Atletico, according to boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The 34-year-old Frenchman suffered a thigh problem during his Champions League service at Celtic on Tuesday and was eliminated against the Scottish champions after half an hour.
The initial diagnosis was that he had injured his semitendinosus tendon and strained the quadriceps muscle in his right thigh. It was set up to leave him outside for up to a month.
But in the press conference before the Real Madrid league match At home to Real Mallorca, Ancelotti said Benzema could return for the international break. France will face Austria and Denmark in the Nations League at the end of September.
Karim Benzema could be back next week after being injured against Celtic
Ancelotti said: ‘We’ll see if Benzema can play the derby on Sunday. If not, he won’t go with France.’
The Italian manager is expected to use Eden Hazard for the game against Mallorca, and then for RB Leipzig’s midweek visit to the Champions League. Hazard scored one of Real Madrid’s three goals at Celtic on Tuesday.
“We don’t have a natural replacement for Karim because he is the best striker in the world,” Ancelotti said.
“There is no replacement for him on the market, but you can replace him with players with different qualities.”
Carlo Ancelotti said there is no ‘natural replacement’ for a player of Benzema’s unique quality
Speaking of Benzema’s injury, the 63-year-old said: “These are things that can happen to footballers. Last year he also had a small problem in December and I think we covered him well. Without him the team played well against Celtic.’
Benzema helped Real Madrid to the LaLiga title and the Champions League trophy with 42 goals last season. After the first four games, they are again the leader this time.
Eder Militao and Alvaro Odriozola will also be absent from Mallorca’s game on Sunday, but Thibaut Courtois will be fit. Ancelotti confirmed that the Belgian goalkeeper had trained normally after missing the previous two days. Jesus Vallejo is also back in group training and could be involved.