El Clásico: Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Real Madrid injured and suspended players for the game
Carlo Ancelotti hinted that he more or less has decided on his starting XI against Barcelona but he won’t be able to count on two of his regulars at the Bernabéu.
Carlo Ancelotti confirmed the bad news in Saturday’s press conference - Karim Benzema won’t be risked against Barcelona on Sunday. He has complained of pains to his left calf muscle and has been training apart - that alone, was a clear indication in itself that he wouldn’t be back in time for El Clásico. Nor will Benzema be joining up with the France squad for the upcoming friendlies against Ivory Coast in Marseille on 25 March and South Africa in Lille four days later. Instead, he will remain in Madrid to make sure he makes a full recovery.
Ancelotti will be without another first choice starter against Barça - left-back Férland Mendy picked up a groin sprain in the last league game against Mallorca and is expected to be out for another week. There are two options to fill his place - the most likely is that Nacho will cover the left flank with Alaba and Militão in central defence and Dani Carvajal on the right. An alternative would be to shift Alaba to left-back and pair Nacho and Militão in the middle although it seems very unlikely that the coach would dismantle his regular centre-back partnership when they have been performing so well together - and especially for such an important game. Marcelo is also in the list but would struggle with Barça’s pace - it would be a surprise to see him start.
Otherwise, Ancelotti has a fully fit squad going into the game and included all of the 24 players he has at his disposal. None of his players are out serving suspension - Casemiro is just one booking away from completing a cycle and if he goes into the book on Sunday, he will sit out the next game, against Celta at Balaídos on 2 April. He is the only Madrid player who is treading a fine line with the threat of suspension.