Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has ruled Karim Benzema out of Sunday’s clash with Atletico Madrid.
The France international picked up a thigh injury against Celtic in the Champions League on September 6, which forced him to sit out the matches with Mallorca and RB Leipzig.
The centre-forward had been working with a physiotherapist in a bid to overcome the issue in time for the Madrid derby at Wanda Metropolitano.
However, speaking during his press conference on Saturday, Ancelotti confirmed that the 34-year-old would not be available for Real Madrid until after the international break.
“Benzema will not be ready for the match, he has started to work individually. He will have the break in order to come back after. I am clear on the plan,” the Italian told reporters.
Rodrygo and Eden Hazard are in contention to play through the middle in Benzema’s absence, and it is believed that the former will get the nod in a front three with Federico Valverde and Vinicius Junior.
Benzema has again been in strong form at club level during the 2022-23 campaign, scoring four goals and registering one assist in six appearances in all competitions.
Meanwhile, an impressive 2021-22 season saw him score 44 goals and register 15 assists in 46 appearances, helping his side win La Liga, the Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup
Lucas Vazquez will also definitely be unavailable for selection on Sunday due to a thigh problem, but Eder Militao has been declared fit after overcoming a muscular issue of his own.
“He is ready to play, he has trained well, he might play from the start or not. I have that doubt. I can only choose eleven and I have to choose well,” Ancelotti added.
The Italian must now decide whether to recall Militao to the middle of the defence alongside David Alaba or keep faith with Antonio Rudiger, who has benefitted from the Brazilian’s absence.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone also spoke to the media on Saturday morning and confirmed that number one goalkeeper Jan Oblak would be fit for the Madrid derby, having overcome his recent injury issues.
Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez are both almost certainly out for the home side, though, while Sergio Reguilon and Thomas Lemar are also set to be unavailable for selection.
Real Madrid have won all five of their La Liga matches this season, which has left them top of the division on 15 points, five points ahead of Atletico Madrid, who sit down in seventh spot in the table.