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REAL MADRID

Benzema is Real Madrid's biggest fitness concern in preseason

Having missed the friendly against PSG, Karim Benzema is also a doubt for Real Madrid's games against Chelsea and Bayern Munich due to an ongoing hip problem

Zinedine Zidane had the intention of employing his new 4-4-2 formation as much as possible in the absence of Cristiano and Bale, but the fitness of Karim Benzema has impeded the Real Madrid coach’s plan.

The Frenchman’s idea is to play Benzema in a two-man attack with Álvaro Morata, but Benzema has been suffering problems during pre-season with his hip and besides missing the 3-1 loss to PSG on Wednesday, he will also miss the match against Chelsea on Saturday. Benzema remains a doubt for the Bayern Munich game in New York on 3 August as well.

Short-term setback for Zidane

On Thursday in Columbus, before the squad travelled to Michigan, the Real striker worked on his own with the club’s physios due to some continuing pains in his hip and lower back – a recurring problem that Benzema hasn’t been able to get rid of.

The fact that Los Blancos are unable to count on Benzema so far in pre-season is a short-term setback for Zidane, as the coach is unable to test out his planned tactical change in the team’s friendlies in the United States. The situation could cause a mid-term problem for Zizou too, seeing as the Supercup against Sevilla is only two weeks away.