Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has named Karim Benzema in his lineup for the club’s UEFA Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. The Frenchman was suffering from a pain in his foot last week, and was sidelined when Los Blancos faced Elche in La Liga over the weekend.
Benzema’s presence has been valuable for Real Madrid this season, and fans will be delighted to see that he suffered only a minor discomfort last week. However, Ancelotti needs to b e careful if he wants the Ballon d’Or contender to stay healthy and available for the rest of the season.
On Wednesday, they will be aiming to go one step closer to knockout stage qualification in the Champions League. While this is important, the La Liga battle is also tight and player rotation will prove to be crucial as the season progresses.
As of now, the Real Madrid recovery room is still filled with the likes of Mariano Diaz, Rodrygo Goes, Fede Valverde and Dani Ceballos. Gareth Bale has been nursing an injury, but he has been called up by Wales and it remains to be seen if he will be fit enough to play in the upcoming international break.
After Tuesday’s training session at Valdebebas, Ancelotti is confident enough to call up Benzema. It remains to be seen if he will start or if he will be eased into action. With Rodrygo and Mariano also absent, Luka Jovic and Eden Hazard may finally be able to showcase their talents this season. Vinicius Junior has been the standout thus far, scoring both of Real Madrid’s goals against Elche last Saturday. Asensio has had limited minutes, but he is probably higher up the pecking order than both Jovic and Hazard at the moment.
Full Real Madrid squad against Shakhtar Donetsk:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin, Fuidias.
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Jesus Vallejo, Nacho, Marcelo, Ferland Mendy, Miguel Gutierrez.
Midfielders: Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Lucas Vazquez, Isco, Eduardo Camavinga, Antonio Blanco.
Forwards: Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Luka Jovic, Vinicius.