October 27, 2016

Zidane hopeful of having Ronaldo and Benzema fit for City

Madrid, Spain: Real Madrid will be without Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema for Saturday’s trip to Real Sociedad in La Liga but coach Zinedine Zidane is hopeful of having both back to face Manchester City next week.

Ronaldo has missed Madrid’s last two games, including the 0-0 draw away to City in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, while Benzema came off in that match and his club later confirmed he was suffering from a thigh injury.

Zidane admitted it was not worth risking either player against Real Sociedad but indicated both could feature in the semi-final second leg against City at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

“The most important thing for now is that they recover. We can’t take risks with Cristiano or Karim, or anybody. The idea is that they come back as soon as possible,” Zidane told a press conference on Friday ahead of Saturday’s game in San Sebastian.

“I can’t say how likely it is that they will play (against City). I hope both are back at 100 percent but I can’t say for certain.”

Ronaldo sat out last weekend’s 3-2 win at Rayo Vallecano with a thigh strain but Zidane said it was a different problem that kept him from playing at the Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, Zidane had said Benzema would be out for “seven or eight days”, leaving the Frenchman with a race against the clock to recover for the City showdown.

Madrid come into the weekend one point behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of the table with three matches remaining.

Zidane’s side have won their last nine league games, but he is wary of the trip to Anoeta, where Barcelona lost recently.

“We know it will be a difficult match at a difficult venue, but as always we need to focus on ourselves,” he said.

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