Real Madrid forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will miss Saturday’s league match as they try to recover in time to face Manchester City in their Champions League semi-final decider.
Zinedine Zidane said that neither of his top two scorers were fit for the trip to Real Sociedad, where Madrid need a win to realistically remain in La Liga’s title race. Madrid trail leaders Barcelona and second-place Atletico Madrid by one point with three matches to go.
Ronaldo was in the gym on Friday, working hard in the pool and with a series of exercises showed off on his Instagram account as he battles to get back from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of the first leg stalemate with City.
Madrid are the hosts on Wednesday after the two sides drew 0-0 in the first leg, where Madrid clearly missed Ronaldo’s spark in attack and where Benzema played only the first half.
“I am worried because each time you have a player injured it is difficult,” Zidane said on Friday. ‘Now the most important thing is that they completely recover because we cannot take risks with Cristiano and Karim.”
Zidane did not specify Ronaldo’s injury, a subject of intense speculation in the Spanish media.
On Thursday, Madrid issued a medical report about Benzema, saying that the France striker hurt his right hamstring.
Benzema’s league tally of 23 goals is his best since joining the club in 2009, while Ronaldo has netted 31 to pass the 30-goal mark in the Spanish league for the sixth straight season.
Their absence leaves Gareth Bale – who scored twice in last weekend’s 3-2 win at Rayo to reach 18 league goals – as Madrid’s main focus in attack against an unpredictable Sociedad side.