Real Madrid CF

Zinedine Zidane provides Karim Benzema injury update ahead of Madrid derby

Tom Gott
Mar 2, 2021, 9:30 AM GMT
Karim Benzema is close to a return for Real Madrid
Karim Benzema is close to a return for Real Madrid | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Real Madrid is hopeful that striker Karim Benzema will recover from injury in time for Sunday's derby against Atletico Madrid.

The Frenchman has missed Real's last three games in all competitions with a groin issue, and without him, the team have looked toothless in attack. They managed just one goal in each game, despite usually putting two or three past teams with Benzema in the side.

Andoni Gorosabel, Vinicius Junior
Real's attack struggled against Sociedad | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Goals against Atalanta and Real Sociedad both came in the dying embers of the game, while the 1-0 win over La Liga strugglers Real Valladolid wasn't exactly impressive, and Zidane confessed that he is looking forward to having his talisman back on the pitch.

"Karim can be with us for the derby," Zidane said (via AS). "That's the idea. Let's see, because he hasn't trained with the team yet. He's doing much better with his injury. Tomorrow we'll see."

The meeting with Atletico looks like it could be a crucial one for so many reasons. On top of the local pride at stake, defeat for Real could be the final nail in the coffin of their already-fading title challenge.

Zinedine Zidane
Zidane knows the importance of the derby | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Atletico currently sit five points clear of both Real and Barcelona in the table, having played one game fewer than both, and a victory over Real on Sunday could leave Zidane's side with an insurmountable mountain to climb.

Having said that, Atletico aren't exactly in the best run of form themselves at the minute. Diego Simeone's men have won just twice in their last six games in all competitions, with their recent 2-0 win over Villarreal not nearly as convincing as the scoreline suggests.

"All the teams are dropping points," Zidane continued. "We know that we have to keep adding them and that is what we are going to try to do. I repeat myself a lot, but there is so much of this season left to play."

Welcoming Benzema back into the team would be a huge boost to Real's chances, but Zidane is still expected to be without Belgian forward Eden Hazard, while the defensive trio of Eder Militao, Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal are all sidelined with their own injuries.

Zidane has admitted previously that Hazard is making good progress with his muscle injury, although Sunday's derby is expected to come too soon for him.

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