MADRID – Real Madrid could face the derby against Atlético de Madrid next Sunday without a center forward as Mariano has joined the infirmary and Karim Benzema remains a serious doubt.
The Frenchman has not yet been completely ruled out but sources from the white wardrobe slip to ESPN that they see it very difficult for him to arrive in time to start against Diego Simeone’s men.
Benzema has already missed the last three games against Real Sociedad, Atalanta and Real Valladolid due to a micro-tear in the abductor.
For its part, Real Madrid has officially released Mariano for this weekend due to another muscle injury.
“After the tests carried out today on our player Mariano Díaz by the Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with a muscle injury in the left external obturator,” the club reported through its website.
Mariano has no return date and his recovery will depend on his evolution.
Thus, Zidane is left without specific forwards to face Atlético de Madrid after Luka Jovic returned to Eintracht Frankfurt during the last winter market.
If Benzema does not finally make it to Sunday’s game, one of the options Zidane is considering is to relocate Rodrygo to the top. The French coach has more options such as using Marco Asensio as a false ‘9’ but today the most feasible thing would be for the young Brazilian to occupy that place after recently returning from another injury.
However, from the dressing room they remain optimistic and different sources tell ESPN that they have all “hopes” on winning the derby to cut points from the leader and continue with options to win La Liga.
Real Madrid is third in the table, tied at 53 points with Barcelona and five points away from Atlético de Madrid, which has one game less than its competitors.
In Benzema’s case, the Frenchman has trained alone both on the field and inside the gym. In fact, he has followed the same plan as Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard. Another starter like Dani Carvajal is also still in the infirmary and has trained only in the gym.