REAL MADRID

Karim Benzema likely to miss European Super Cup

The Frenchman has yet to play a minute of pre-season as he struggles to overcome a hip problem and Zidane will have to find an altnernative for Sevilla.

Karim Benzema likely to miss European Super Cup
PEPE ANDRES

Karim Benzema looks likely to miss the European Super Cup clash with Sevilla in Trondheim, a source of concern for Zinedine Zidane as he plots a route to the first available trophy of the season.

With nine days remaining until Zidane pits his wits against Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli, Benzema has yet to feature for a single minute of Real’s pre-season due to an ongoing hip problem. “Of course I’m concerned,” Zidane admitted in a press conference before Real’s victory over Chelsea. Zidane’s plan during the US tour was to try out a 4-4-2 for the Super Cup with Álvaro Morata partnering Benzema in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who will definitely miss the Sevilla game, and Gareth Bale, who didn’t join up with the squad until July 31.

Benzema’s injury though has put that idea on hold. Zidane hopes to be able to hand the striker some playing time in the final friendly against Bayern next week but if the player’s problems persist he will not be risked. Benzema’s hip problem is nothing new and he was being treated at the club by his trusted physiotherapist, Juan Muro, who was dismissed last summer by club doctor Jesús Olmo. Now Benzema sees Muro privately.

In the meantime, Zidane also has concerns over Morata’s lack of goal threat. The canterano, who returned to the club from Juventus at the beginning of summer, has featured in both pre-season friendlies to date but has yet to find the back of the net. Zidane though has full confidence in his striker. “Morata will stay at Madrid this year for sure. We’re very happy with him.”