Karim Benzema would not play if Liverpool clash was tomorrow – Ancelotti


Karim Benzema would not play if Real Madrid’s Champions League round of 16 first leg with Liverpool took place on Saturday, says head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Ancelotti has ruled Benzema out of Osasuna’s LaLiga clash this weekend as Madrid look to catch up with leaders who currently hold an eight-point lead.

Benzema missed the World Cup with France with a thigh injury and also missed Madrid’s league defeat to Real Mallorca and the Club World Cup semi-final win over Al Ahly with a muscle problem.

The Ballon d’Or winner then played and scored in the Club World Cup final against Al Hilal and netted twice against Elche in midweek.

Madrid appear to be managing Benzema with a focus on the big games, but Ancelotti insisted on Friday that he would be unable to call up the striker the following day regardless of the opposition.

The European champions visit Liverpool in their next game on Tuesday.

“If the game was against Liverpool tomorrow, I wouldn’t play him either,” Ancelotti told reporters. “Better not risk him.

“He’s a bit tired, like a lot of players, that’s true, but he’s coming back from injury so it’s different.

“We’re hoping he’ll be there by Tuesday.”

Ancelotti acknowledged that Benzema’s advancing age adds to the demand for extra measures to be taken to ensure he is fit and available at the end of the campaign.

“He did very well after the World Cup,” added the Madrid boss. “He scored goals in almost every game.

“He’s not injured. Given his age, we just prefer to rest him. So he’ll be fine for the rest of the season.”

Madrid bounced back from a 1-0 loss in Mallorca with a 4-0 thrashing of Elche, but with Barcelona winning 11 of their last 12 league games, Ancelotti knows his side must continue to collect maximum points to keep up with Xavi’s rampant pace. men sit on top.

“The aim at the moment is to get [the gap] to five points,” Ancelotti explained. “The calendar is demanding, with important matches and we want to keep the good feeling.

“We are good but we can improve and we are going for it. In football you can go from the best to the worst in a moment and vice versa.”

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