Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has backed a Los Blancos superstar to deliver the goods in the absence of injured Karim Benzema, who will miss the home game against Real Mallorca. With Xavi’s Barcelona taking the top spot after defeating Cadiz in the Spanish top flight, La Liga holders Real will be desperate to reclaim the numero uno position in the league standings on Sunday.
Real Madrid can replace El Clasico rivals Barcelona and take the top spot in La Liga with a win over Real Mallorca. The defending champions are set to host Real Mallorca on matchday 6 of the La Liga season 2022-2023 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid are only a point behind leaders Barcelona, who have played a game more than the La Liga holders.
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Ancelotti’s men will miss the services of star striker Benzema as the French forward suffered a right thigh injury in Madrid’s UEFA Champions League clash against Celtic. The record-time European Cup winners kickstarted their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 win over Celtic. Speaking ahead of Madrid’s home game against Mallorca, Ancelotti backed Eden Hazard to step in for Benzema.
“Hazard played against Celtic and he’ll do the same tomorrow. I hope he can put in a repeat performance. Injuries happen. Benzema had a small issue against Celtic and he was out for a while in December last year too and we managed to replace him just fine. The team played brilliantly without him against Celtic, especially up top, and I hope to see more of the same tomorrow,” Ancelotti told Madrid’s official website.
By excelling in the false nine role, Hazard can boost his chances of making regular appearances for Los Blancos this season. Hazard’s goal against Celtic was his first since January. The former Chelsea star had replaced Benzema after half an hour at Celtic Park. On Sunday, Hazard will make his first Real Madrid start after almost eight months. Hazard joined Real Madrid on a five-year contract back in 2019.
Real Madrid won’t rush Benzema back
“We won’t rush Benzema back. He won’t play on Wednesday and then we’ll see if we can get him back for the derby. If he doesn’t play then, I don’t think he’ll join up with France. Karim scores a lot of goals and that helped us to win several trophies last year. If we’re waiting on a player’s fitness that’s a positive thing, it’s not negative. This team has real quality up top with Vini Jr., Rodrygo, Hazard, Asensio and Mariano in certain games, he’s very good in the air. We have loads of resources to continue our decent run,” Ancelotti added.