May 09, 2015 08:06:58 UK
France striker Karim Benzema could return from injury when Real Madrid host Valencia at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga on Saturday.
The 27-year-old has not played since a goalless draw in the Champions League quarter-finals against city rivals Atletico Madrid at Vicente Calderon in the middle of April because of a knee ligament injury.
The Spanish title winner and Champions League winner missed Tuesday’s 2-1 semi-final first-leg defeat by Serie A champions Juventus at the Juventus Stadium in Turin.
However, coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed the former Lyon striker could come back into contention when the capital giants look to keep the pressure on leaders and bitter rivals Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.
“He’s available, but he isn’t fully fit,” Ancelotti told reporters at a news conference on Friday.
“He feels fine and I’ll decide tomorrow whether he’ll make the team or start on the bench.”
Wales international Gareth Bale came in for criticism for an underwhelming display against Juve but Ancelotti said he had not lost faith in the former Tottenham flyer. The experienced Italian said the world’s most expensive footballer still had a part to play in the club’s efforts to usurp Barcelona and successfully defend their Champions League trophy.
He added: “Gareth Bale will continue to play well for Real Madrid. This is team is fighting to win to the league, for the final of the Champions League. I thank them [the players] for their efforts, if one game hasn’t gone well, that’s that.”
Real Madrid are two points behind Barcelona and are currently priced 3.75 in the La Liga outright winner betting.
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