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EL CLÁSICO

Real Madrid injury update ahead of Clásico: Benzema, Bale

There are serious doubts surrounding the fitness of Karim Benzema ahead the Clásico against Barcelona with Gareth Bale also a doubt.

Update:
Real Madrid injury update ahead of Clásico: Benzema, Bale
ALBERT GEAREUTERS

Real Madrid carried out their penultimate training session on Friday ahead of the Clásico against Barcelona with the biggest question mark for Carlo Ancelotti concerning the fitness of Karim Benzema. The Frenchman didn’t last the 90 minutes in Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Mallorca at Son Moix and has been struggling to shake off a calf issue in time for Sunday’s clash. Although the striker, who has racked up 22 goals and 11 assists I 25 Liga appearances this season, did not train with the group, there is optimism that he may pass a late fitness to be included in the Madrid squad.

Saturday’s session will be the defining moment for Benzema, who if he plays will chalk up his 39th Clásico appearance on Sunday, with the striker reportedly undergoing further tests on Friday. Benzema has been called up by Didier Deschamps for the friendly games against Ivory Coast and South Africa during the upcoming international break but he won’t be risked by Ancelotti unless he is 100 percent fit.

Valdano: "I don’t think there is any possibility of Benzema playing"

“If he plays in the Clásico, something I see as unnecessary taking into account the lead Madrid have in the league, it will be difficult for him to then not report for France. I don’t think there is any possibility of him playing on Sunday,” former Real Madrid manager Jorge Valdano Spanish television.

Ferland Mendy has been definitively ruled out of the Clásico but Rodrygo has been given the all-clear to be included. Another issue for Ancelotti surrounds Gareth Bale, who was handed a start by the Italian in the 0-0 draw away at Villarreal when the Frenchman was out with a hamstring issue. If Benzema doesn’t make the squad, the Wales forward might have been an option on Sunday but there are now doubts about his fitness as he endures another injury plagued season at the Bernabéu.

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JAVIER GANDULDIARIO AS

Isco and Jovic out in the cold

Isco has fallen out of the picture again after an increasingly rare start in the previous game against Granada, in which the little-used midfielder acquitted himself well as a false nine in Benzema’s absence, while Luka Jovic hasn’t featured for Madrid in over a month and did not even make the squad for the Mallorca game.

Madrid will be back on the training pitches at Valdebebas at 11am on Saturday, after which Ancelotti will give his pre-match press conference before naming his squad.

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