Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: 5 players who could start at striker with Karim Benzema injured

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Luka Jovic
Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will miss one of their most important players – if not, THE most important player – on Sunday night at the Santiago Bernabeu, as Karim Benzema picked up a calf injury late in Monday night’s 3-0 LaLiga victory over a tough Mallorca side.

Whereas Los Blancos allowed Benz to start and push through the pain in the first leg of the Champions League at PSG, they will not take the same risk with this match against Barcelona. Perhaps, it is because the quarterfinals of the Champions League are on the horizon, and Real Madrid will be facing the Chelsea side that knocked them out of last year’s semifinals. But perhaps it is also because they learned their lesson after Benzema looked a shell of himself at the Parc des Princes.

Either way, Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that the clear Pichichi favorite will not be playing this weekend. Who will start in his place? Here are the five main candidates.

ST Luka Jovic

We begin with the top backup striker, Luka Jovic. Though the club seems to be pushing him out after not naming him in the squad for a recent match and even subbing in Mariano Diaz ahead of him in a prior game, Jovic is, on paper, the best option.

And really, he has proven to be the best option. He was excellent against Real Sociedad when Benzema was injured early in the match, and he was also quite good in the second half of a win over Atletico Madrid when Benz needed to be subbed early as a precaution.

Jovic has not fulfilled his potential in Madrid, but he barely gets a chance to. Los Merengues have also realized that, stylistically, he is not a fit for what the club wants in No. 9. It hasn’t helped that they have been chasing Erling Haaland either. But Jovic is still a candidate to start against Barcelona, though, sadly, it seems the club and Carletto do not trust him.