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La Liga | Gameweek 26
Mar 19, 2023 at 8pm UK
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Barcelona
2 - 1
Real Madrid

Roberto (45'), Kessie (90+2')
Raphinha (33'), Roberto (65'), Balde (90'), Fati (90+6')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Araujo (9' og.)
Nacho (18'), Modric (69'), Ceballos (90+6')

Karim Benzema plays down injury fears ahead of El Clasico

Karim Benzema plays down injury fears ahead of El Clasico
© Reuters
Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema insists that he will be fit for Sunday's La Liga clash with Barcelona despite being forced off against Liverpool.

Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema has insisted that he will be fit for Sunday's La Liga clash with Barcelona.

The 35-year-old scored the only goal of the match in Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg with Liverpool, as Los Blancos won 6-2 on aggregate to advance to the quarter-finals.

Benzema took a heavy knock just before finding the back of the net in the 78th minute, which had to him being withdrawn in the 82nd minute of the match.

The Frenchman has struggled with a number of fitness problems this season and was missing last time out in the league against Espanyol due to a slight ankle issue.

However, speaking after the European contest with Liverpool, Benzema played down fears that he could now be unavailable for selection against league leaders Barcelona.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema in action with Liverpool's Cody Gakpo on March 15, 2023© Reuters

"It was just a real blow to my shin but that's all it was, a knock, I'll be fit for Sunday," Benzema told reporters when asked about the seriousness of the issue.

"It was a tough game against good opposition but we showed we wanted to get on the front foot from the off. It was a great game for the fans and we're into the quarters.

"Football today is all about digging in. Everyone wants more but sometimes you have to suffer in a game. The important thing is to win it and get through."

Benzema has now found the back of the net on 19 occasions in 28 appearances for Los Blancos during the 2022-23 campaign, in addition to registering five assists.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on March 11, 2023© Reuters

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti also said that the forward would "recover without any problems for Sunday" when questioned after the clash with Liverpool.

"It's a knock. He was feeling a bit sore and it hurts a little, but I think he'll recover without any problems for Sunday," said the Italian on Wednesday night before discussing his team's performance.

"It was a good game, we delivered a complete performance. We could have easily slipped up but we were disciplined early on, with our ideas clear in our minds, and we finished strongly as well."

Real Madrid are currently nine points behind Barcelona in the La Liga table, so a defeat in El Clasico could potentially end their hopes of retaining the title this season.

David Alaba is the capital outfit's only confirmed absentee for Sunday's game at Camp Nou, with Ferland Mendy back on the bench against Liverpool on Wednesday after recovering from a hamstring issue.

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Karim Benzema in action for Real Madrid on October 5, 2022
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