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Barcelona vs Real Madrid injury report for the LaLiga week 26 Clásico: Will Benzema play?

Barça boss Xavi Hernández is missing key players for El Clásico, while Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has almost a full squad to choose from.

Karim Benzema es atendido por el cuerpo médico del conjunto madridista. El delantero francés recibe un golpe en la pierna derecha en la jugada del primer tanto.

The last four years have been long ones if you are of a Barcelona persuasion (and for other reasons too…). But today, Sunday 19 March 2023, could be pivotal as La Blaugrana look to finally add to their LaLiga title tally once again. Xavi Hernández’s side take on Real Madrid in El Clásico at Camp Nou and know that a victory will see them move 12 points clear with 12 games left to play. Surely they couldn’t mess that up?

Follow Barcelona v Real Madrid live

On the flip side of the coin, Carlo Ancelotti and his men have won two of the three league championships played since Barça’s last triumph but they will likely have to take all three points home from Catalonia if they are to have any chance of defending the crown they have worn since last May.

Barcelona without Pedri and Dembélé against Real Madrid

Xavi will be frustrated by the fact that he will be without a couple of key players for what could be seen as their biggest game of the season. Midfield man Pedri suffered a thigh injury on 16 February against Manchester United in the Europa League and most of the talk since then has been that he would almost certainly be back to face Los Blancos and that there was even an outside chance of him playing against Athletic Club last weekend. That, however, didn’t happen and it was revealed on Friday that he had suffered a setback in training which means he won’t be risked in El Clásico.

The Canary Islander has been one of Barça’s most impressive performers this term, while winger Ousmane Dembélé has been a difference-maker in attack. The Frenchman, though, has been on the sidelines since January, also because of a thigh problem, and is further behind in his recovery.

Araújo returns to tackle Vinícius

The good news for Barcelona is the return of Ronald Araújo, who didn’t play in Bilbao due to suspension. The central defender has become accustomed to playing at right-back against Real Madrid in an attempt to keep Vinícius Júnior quiet and the Uruguayan is again expected to feature in a wide position.

Possible Barcelona line-up to play Real Madrid

Ter Stegen; Araújo, Koundé, Christensen, Balde; Busquets, De Jong, Kessié; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi.

Alaba the only injury absentee for Los Blancos

Carlo Ancelotti has almost a full squad to choose from as he gets ready to make one last roll of the LaLiga dice. Defender David Alaba has recovered from a hamstring problem but hasn’t trained fully with his teammates and isn’t in the squad for the game at Camp Nou. Alaba will go away on international duty with Austria and will presumably get some game time with them before returning for Madrid.

Left-back Ferland Mendy had also been expected to return after the international break but made a quicker than expected recovery from his own hamstring problem and was back on the bench in the Champions League win over Liverpool on Wednesday.

Benzema fit after Champions League scare

That game saw captain Karim Benzema forced off late on with what appeared to be yet another injury (is anyone counting how many he has had this season at the stage?). The Frenchman was visibly in pain after receiving a kick to the shin but both Carlo Ancelotti and Benzema himself played down fears that he would miss El Clásico and the striker takes up his place in the squad, as usual.

One man who won’t feature, however, is young attacker Álvaro Rodríguez. The Uruguayan has had an impact in the first team of late, notably scoring an equaliser in the derby against Atlético Madrid but has incurred a suspension after picking up five yellow cards while playing for Real Madrid Castilla. The club appealed the decision to no avail.

Possible Real Madrid line-up to play Barcelona

Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rüdiger, Nacho; Camavinga, Modric, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinícius.


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