Real Madrid might get the derby boost they need at forward

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid are facing the prospect of going up against league leaders Atletico Madrid on the road without a true striker. Star man Karim Benzema, who has easily been the team’s leading scorer in each of the past three seasons, has already missed a few games with an injury. And now, Los Blancos have lost his direct backup Mariano Diaz to injury, leaving Castilla prospect Hugo Duro as the only No. 9.

All week long, Madridistas have been pondering the alternatives. They barely got a point out of Monday’s clash with Real Sociedad, needing a late goal from Vinicius Junior started by a Fede Valverde backheel to salvage a point.

But maybe, just maybe, Real Madrid won’t need to resort to late magic to get something out of Sunday’s match. Because it’s possible their best forward will make it to El Derbi/

Karim Benzema returned to training on Friday for Real Madrid. Onda Cero’s Edu Pidal states that Benzema is “ready” for the derby. COPE’s Miguel Angel Diaz tweets that Benz’s “aim” is to start this weekend. And finally,’s Mario Cortegana cautiously writes that while Benzema’s chances of playing in El Derbi have increased, Madridistas must keep a close eye on Saturday as the “key” day to know the No. 9’s status. (Note: All tweets linked are written in Spanish.)

Real Madrid fans have a reason to be optimistic about Karim Benzema’s chances

Even though fans must be cautiously optimistic, there is indeed reason for optimism. Zinedine Zidane wisely likes to return players slowly from injuries, especially key veteran players like Benzema. But this match against Atletico Madrid is very high-stakes, both as a derby and as a match that could decide the title race. It is of a similar magnitude to the Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu last year.

If Benzema cannot start, he could still make an impact off the bench if his recovery has gone well. Real Madrid do not want to risk any sort of aggravations with Benz’s injury, as they made that mistake with Dani Carvajal, who is out against after a re-injury a couple of weeks ago vs. Valencia.

Next. 5 Real Madrid players who must shine in El Derbi. dark

However, Benz is so important to Los Merengues. Madridistas will hope to see him on the pitch against Atleti, but if it is in Zidane’s best interests to wait, then fans must hope for big games from the likes of Rodrygo Goes and Isco, who both impressed vs. La Real in Monday’s match at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.