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REAL MADRID

Benzema, Mendy hand Zidane a boost ahead of Villarreal clash

Karim Benzema's injury is not as serious as feared and he should make the Villarreal game while Ferland Mendy is also nearing a return to action.

Benzema: falsa alarma
JUAN MEDINA REUTERS

With the focus on international football for the next few days Real Madrid have a chance to regroup after being mauled at Mestalla by Valencia, a game in which Zinedine Zidane suffered a double blow after Karim Benzema suffered a muscle injury. Shorn of the club’s 11 international call-ups the Bernabéu boss has a reduced group with which to work ahead of the Liga meeting with Villarreal after the break. Madrid can scarcely afford another reverse when they travel to play Unai Emery’s second-placed Yellow Submarine.

Zidane will have been encouraged therefore to see Benzema in the gym on Wednesday morning as his players reported to Valdebebas. The French striker, Zidane’s only trusted option at number nine, limped out of the hammering in Mestalla along with Fede Valverde, who is was later confirmed faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a fractured leg. It had been feared Benzema was also going to be unavailable for a spell, raising the spectre of Zidane having to call on either Mariano or Luka Jovic, or find a tactical solution to the absence of his key striker while also trying to plug the gaps in a porous back line.

Benzema’s muscle injury isn’t as bad as initially thought and the Frenchman should be available for Villarreal on 21 November.

Mendy and Odriozola give Zidane hope at full back

Ferland Mendy could also be in line for a return in the Céramica, which will be a relief to Zidane after his patched-up defence were on the wrong end of the Madrid manager’s worst defeat during his tenure as Bernabéu boss in Mestalla. In France there have been suggestions that Madrid blocked the left back from joining up with Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus and he was also in the gym on Wednesday along with Álvaro Odriozola and Lucas Vázquez.