Karim Benzema will miss the match against Espanyol due to injury

Karim Benzema will miss Saturday’s Spanish league game against Espanyol with an ankle injury, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday, adding that the French striker will have to be back for subsequent games against Liverpool and Barcelona.

“(Benzema) has had a blow to the ankle, it has swollen,” said Ancelotti. “He has started individual training today and will be available for Wednesday.”

Madrid hosts Liverpool on Wednesday in the second leg of the round of 16 with a 5-2 lead. The team then visits Barça in the “classic” and that could impact the fight for the league title.

Benzema has been plagued by minor injuries this season after a stellar 2021-22 season in which he led the Meringues to the European Cup and Spanish league titles with 44 goals. For this he took the Ballon d’Or for the best player.

Benzema, 35, has missed 12 games for his club, as well as the World Cup with France. He played the full 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw against Real Betis on Sunday.

Ancelotti assured that the team misses having its best player in more games.

“It is inevitable that it affects because it is too important, especially after last season,” added Ancelotti. “It has been important and what we think is that it will be important until the end of the season.”

Rodrygo will replace Benzema in the starting lineup against Espanyol, the coach said.

Madrid has nine points less than Barcelona, ​​which is the leader of the Spanish league. Barcelona visits Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Ancelotti is also hoping injured defender Ferland Mendy will be ready in time to face Liverpool.

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