Karim Benzema misses his 14th game of the season against Espanyol | Sports

Karim Benzema, a week ago against Betis.
Karim Benzema, a week ago against Betis.Jose Breton (AP)

A blow to the left ankle received against Betis last Sunday, according to Real Madrid, is the cause of the new absence of Karim Benzema. The Frenchman will not be this Saturday against Espanyol (2:00 p.m., Movistar), which will mean his 14th complete game out of action this season, the tenth in the League. “The ankle has swollen. He has not been able to recover because he has not trained with the team. it started today [por este viernes] individual and will be available on Wednesday [frente al Liverpool]explained Carlo Ancelotti, who confirmed the ownership of Rodrygo, the Frenchman’s regular substitute up front.

The new loss for physical reasons abounds in a campaign in which Benzema, 35, does not stop appearing in the medical part of Madrid. On the return of the World Cup that he missed due to another injury, he came to chain seven games in a row, but it did not go from there. He now had four consecutive games in the eleven (Anfield, Atlético, Barcelona and Betis), and another break. On Wednesday and Thursday he did work on his behalf inside the facilities and this Friday he was not seen with his colleagues.

The absence occurs on the eve of two key duels for the white team: on Wednesday, to close the pass to the Champions League quarterfinals (2-5 in the first leg of Liverpool); and next Sunday at the Camp Nou, to try to reduce the gap in the League with Barcelona (he starts this day with nine points). It is the third time this season that the French striker has been out before attacking a couple of key and big-card events. In October, he was absent in Getafe before the European clash in Warsaw against Shakhtar and the league classic at the Bernabéu; and three weeks ago he did not travel to Pamplona on the eve of the Anfield match, the derby with Atlético and the classic cupbearer at home. In these two moments, he appealed to the need to rest. This time, his drop from the list was justified by a blow to his left ankle.

“Their casualties affect us,” admits Carletto

“After the break [mundialista], we need Karim and we are sure that he will return to the level of last season”, Ancelotti commented at the beginning of November, when it became clear that he would not be able to count on Benzema before the Qatar appointment due to this “muscular fatigue”, according to what he claimed the club, which separated him from Madrid in the three weeks prior to the World Cup. The return to domestic competitions, however, did not bring back the best version of the Frenchman either: 12 goals (half from penalties) in 15 games, and five days absent for physical reasons.

This Friday, before Espanyol and another absence, the Italian coach admitted the obvious without wanting to go too deep. “It is inevitable that they affect us [sus bajas] because he is too important a player, especially after last season. The fact that he hasn’t reached that level yet has affected us a bit. We fixed it well in the first part of the season. In the second, Karim has done his thing and will be important until the end. We are confident that he will help us, ”explained Carletto.

Despite being far from the figures of the previous season (44 targets), his efficiency in maximum penalties has helped him generate an estimable number of goals (18, six of them from 11 meters) taking into account all his absences. However, his lesser impact on the team’s combinative play, which has always been his differential fact compared to the vast majority of his colleagues, is the biggest flaw for him in this eventful season.

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