Zinedine Zidane has confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will travel to face Manchester City in the Champions League but is unsure on Karim Benzema’s chances after the striker limped off against Rayo Vallecano.
Ronaldo pulled a thigh muscle during the midweek win over Villarreal and sat out Saturday’s trip to face Paco Jemez’s team, which saw Madrid fall two goals behind before securing a vital 3-2 victory in the Liga title race.
It was the first league game the Portuguese star had missed this season and Zidane’s comments prior to the Rayo game also hinted that the injury could keep Ronaldo out of the City game as well.
However, Zidane has since revealed that Ronaldo’s injury isn’t as bad as first feared and he will make the trip to City next Tuesday.
When asked by reporters for an update on Ronaldo’s fitness, Zidane replied: “He will travel to Manchester.”
But in another twist, Benzema – who has struggled with injuries all season – limped off just before half-time to add to Zidane’s fitness concerns ahead of the semi-final first leg against City.
The striker has scored 23 La Liga goals this season – his highest total in a single season since joining Madrid in 2009 – but has seen playing time restricted due to thigh and back problems this term.
Zidane says he is in the dark as to whether Benzema will miss Madrid’s clash with City, stating that it is too early to tell.
“He will be assessed,” Zidane said. “Hope it’s nothing and he’ll be able to play on Tuesday but right now we don’t know.”
Madrid’s 3-2 win over Rayo has momentarily put them top of the league prior to title rivals Atletico and Barcelona’s games against Malaga and Sporting Gijon respectively.
And Zidane believes his charges were given perfect preparation for their tough affair with City against Rayo.
“We knew before coming to Vallecas it would be very difficult,” Zidane added. “On Tuesday we have another battle. We know City will be very difficult and we have to prepare well.”