Carlo Ancelotti confirms Karim Benzema will play in Madrid derby

Jude Summerfield
Benzema is one of Real's most important players
Benzema is one of Real's most important players / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages
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Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Karim Benzema is fit and available to feature in Real Madrid's derby with Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.

The Frenchman has struggled with fitness issues recently, missing the 2-0 Champions League victory over Inter on Tuesday due to a hamstring problem he picked up in domestic action against Real Sociedad.

Benzema is La Liga's leading goalscorer this season with 12 strikes and has also struck up a fearsome partnership with the impressive Vinicius Junior, who has ten goals himself.

Missing the Madrid derby would be a massive blow for Benzema and Real, with Luka Jovic filling in up front in his absence against Inter, but Ancelotti has now confirmed the 33-year-old will play against their bitter rivals.

The Italian said in his pre-match press conference: "He has trained well. He has good feelings, he will be available, he will play.

"We have all trained, apart from [Dani] Ceballos who will be there next week.

"I want to praise the work of the medical team and the coaches, to have the entire squad ready to go. At this time of the season is that they are doing a great job."

As Ancelotti said, only midfielder Dani Ceballos is missing, though the former Arsenal loanee likely won't be pushing for a starting XI spot anytime soon. Forward Gareth Bale has returned to training after three months out, but Marco Asensio could be picked for the third forward spot alongside Benzema and Vinicius instead of the Welshman.

Los Blancos are in terrific form, winning each of their last nine games in all competitions. They have only conceded two goals in their last six games, with their last defeat coming at the start of October when they were beaten 2-1 at Espanyol.


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