Carlo Ancelotti confirms striker Karim Benzema has joined Real Madrid’s growing list of absentees for Wednesday’s Uefa Champions League quarter-final return leg at home to Atletico Madrid.
The France international has been diagnosed with strained knee ligament and now joins Luka Modric and Gareth Bale on the sidelines ahead of the decider at the Santiago Bernebeu.
“(Karim) Benzema seemed to be fine on Friday but he has suffered an injury and has not recovered in time for this match,” the Italian, 55, said in his pre-game media briefing at the Bernebeu on Tuesday.
Croatian midfielder Luka Modric is already looking at the Berlin final to make his Real comeback having been ruled out of action with a knee injury two days earlier. The former Tottenham Hotspur man, who came back from a previous four month layoff last month, strained ligaments in his right knee during Saturday’s victory over Malaga and is expected to miss almost one month of football.
“We are missing some important players but it’s impossible for us to be more motivated than we are. We have to live with injuries,” he continued. “We did it in the past.”
Javier Hernandez is favoured to replace Benzema following his impressive showing against Malaga at the weekend. Isco, who filled the vacuum left by Modric’s absence in the past, is very much likely to return back to the same position, with Assier Illaramendi and Sami Khedira among Ancelotti’s options.
Suspension to Brazilian defender Marcelo means Coentrao’s would start at the left back. Ancelotti may now have to tweak his formation from his favoured 4:3:3 to 4:2:2 in the absence of Bale.