MX23RW : Tuesday, June 28 09:58:13| >> :60:973:973:

Rafael Benitez calls for fewer international friendlies

Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez admits his frustration at losing two players to injury in "insignificant" international friendlies.

Real Madrid head coach Rafael Benitez has bemoaned the number of "insignificant" international games during the season after James Rodriguez and Danilo both picked up injuries on international duty.

Rodriguez suffered a thigh tear in Colombia's 1-1 draw with Peru while Danilo injured his heel in Brazil's 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica, and both players are expected to be sidelined for up to a month.

That length of lay-off would see the pair miss the start of Real's Champions League campaign and possibly rule them out for the Madrid derby at Atletico on October 4, and Benitez vented his frustration at losing important squad members in such a manner.

"The players are going to play matches that many times are insignificant, not just friendlies as in this case, but also some official matches where they are winning 7-0 or 8-0," he told reporters.

"We know that international games carry with them these problems and with so many internationals in the squad the risk is greater.

"We have lost two players for a number of games and now we need to get the best out of the excellent squad we have so that their absence is not noticed."

Madrid face a trip to Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday before getting their Champions League campaign underway with an opening group-stage match against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Bernabeu.

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Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Real Betis Balompie at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on August 29, 2015
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