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SOCCER

No Benzema and with Vinicius at the fore

Real Madrid held their last session before the derby without Karim Benzema, who hasn’t recovered from a knee injury. There was good news for Militão.

Update:
Karim Benzema.
Craig Williamson - SNS GroupGetty

Real Madrid travel to the Civitas Metropolitano with Vinicius firmly in the spotlight but without Karim Benzema as the football world tunes in for Sunday’s derby. Carlo Ancelotti will have to manage without his star forward against Atleti. The French player didn’t train with the rest of the group today - the last session before Madrid take on Atlético. It’s a game that Benzema was hoping to play and had even tried to force himself back to full fitness but the club’s medical department had other ideas - insisting that he will only return once the bursitis in his knee has subsided. In the end, time has run out for Benzema.

That means that the responsibility for scoring goals will fall on Vini, who faces extra pressure during a week in which he came under fire for his Bailona celebration - especially in Brazil where it has been taken as a sign of racism. It was serious enough to motivate Real Madrid to issue an official statement to explain what happened and voice their support the Brazilian star.

On a more positive note, Militão has confirmed that he is now back to full fitness and will be able to play against Atlético. Not so lucky is Lucas Vázquez, who trained this morning but apart from the group and alongside the fitness trainer.

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