Real Madrid absences pile up as Benzema and Casemiro join Ramos on the sidelines



Zinedine Zidane’s side have a host of players out as they start a run of 10 games in 32 days

Karim Benzema is a notable absentee from Real Madrid’s 20-man squad for the trip to Villarreal in La Liga.

Real return to action on Saturday following the international break, but will travel to Villarreal without their key attacking weapon.

Reports on Friday morning suggested the French forward was struggling to shake off a knock he picked up in the Liga game against Valencia on November 8.

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Benzema opened the scoring in Valencia, but failed to finish the 4-1 defeat after picking up an injury and it is proving more troublesome than initially thought.

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The forward is not the only absentee for manager Zinedine Zidane to contend with. 

Captain and key defender Sergio Ramos’ absence was confirmed on Thursday. He picked up a hamstring injury during Spain’s 6-0 win over Germany on Wednesday evening and could be sidelined for a number of weeks.

Casemiro and Eder Militao have not been included in the traveling party. Both tested positive for the coronavirus before the international break and have been isolating away from the squad. The Brazilians are back with the Real camp, but have not been deemed fit enough to travel.

Serbia international forward Luka Jovic is sidelined after testing positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

A positive for Zidane is that Eden Hazard has been included in the squad. The Belgian tested positive for Covid-19 a couple of weeks ago, but is now clear to play and has been deemed fit enough to be included in the squad.

The trip to Villarreal is the start of a busy spell for Real, which will see them play 10 games in 32 days – and that includes trips to Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Zidane is concerned by the workload being asked of the players.

“I don’t want to say too much but what I can say is because I see that the schedule is too much,” he said at a press conference on Friday.  “I think about the health of the players, nothing more. They never stop. And I’m not just talking about my players. It’s true that I’m worried.

“There are people who are there to make the schedule, but I’m worried by it.”



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