Zidane Unwilling To Risk Benzema Against Atalanta
Karim Benzema remains a doubt for Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg clash against Atalanta on Wednesday, with manager Zinedine Zidane unwilling to risk the Frenchman against the Italians.
Benzema is nursing a calf injury and sat out Los Blancos’ 1-0 win at Real Valladolid in La Liga on Saturday, with Casemiro’s second half strike taking the champions to within three points of leaders Atletico Madrid, who lost 2-0 at home to Levante.
The 33-year-old is one of a host of Real Madrid players who are currently out with various degrees of injuries.
The likes of Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Federico Valverde, Eden Hazard, Eder Militao and Marcelo are all out in the treatment room.
Nonetheless, Zidane maintains the amount of games left for Real Madrid in the season means he is unlikely to play Benzema unless he is passed fit.
“We are not going to take risks with Benzema because the season is long,” Zidane said. “If he is fine, he will be with us. If not, he won’t.
“We are not going to take risks. We never take risks.
“If it was the Champions League final, that is different and we could [take a risk]. If it’s the final game of the Liga season, maybe.
“But there are many games to play, so we won’t take risks. He will have a scan tomorrow and we will see.”
On the wider problem, Zidane said: “It’s true that we have lots of injuries, but we hope to get players back soon.
“We are not happy about it but there is nothing we can do. For now, we have to make do with who we have here and we’re doing that. The players who are available are committed.”
Benzema has scored 17 goals in 28 games for Real Madrid this season.