Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is perhaps not in the scheme of things for coach Zinedine Zidane as the latter has not included him in the 19-member squad for the crucial Champions League match on Wednesday. Real is scheduled to play Atalanta in their important quarterfinal tie.
Benzema, a dependable striker for Zidane has already scored 17 goals in all competitions this season. However, he is yet to recover from a slight tear in his left abductor muscle. This is a nagging injury that ruled him out of Real Madrid’s narrow 1-0 win away to Valladolid on Saturday.
According to reports he was rightly replaced by the 27-year-old Mariano Diaz at the weekend, who more than justified his selection and made up for the absence of Benzema. Diaz is also likely to spearhead Real Madrid on Wednesday again.
Zidane is not looking at just Karim Benzema to drop from the side against Atalanta. There are others who will miss the game on Wednesday. Apart from Benzema, club captain Sergio Ramos is also out of the side after undergoing minor knee surgery. Those prominent players who will miss the big game are Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola along with central defender Eder Militao, Rodrygo, Fede Valverde and Eden Hazard.
There is a long injury list that Zidane has to deal with. It has forced him to make the necessary changes in the team and it is an arduous task. Zidane is compelled to call players from Real Madrid B-team. Many players such as defender Victor Chust, Miguel Gutierrez, Antonio Blanco, Jesus Arribas and Hugo Duro are also traveling.
Both midfielder Arribas and forward Duro came into Saturday’s win as second half substitutes. So, it has to be seen how Zidane fields his side in the next game.