Karim Benzema has been sorely missed by the Real Madrid squad since he picked up an injury three weeks ago. With just two days left before their crucial UEFA Champions League last-16 match against Paris Saint-Germain, Los Blancos are desperate to have their prolific striker back in the lineup.
On Saturday, Real Madrid allowed Sevilla to get within four points at the top of the La Liga table. They squandered the opportunity to sit on a more comfortable six-point lead after a disappointing draw against Villareal at the Ceramica stadium.
The first half had the hosts threatening to score, and manager Carlo Ancelotti needed to wake his players up during the half-time break. In the second half, Real Madrid were the more dominant side, but they lacked the finishing touch to take all three points from the evening.
Vinicius Jr. was neutralised by the Villarreal defence, and spent most of his time tumbling to the floor as the defenders did their best to keep him at bay. Meanwhile, Gareth Bale finally had an opportunity to start, but was mostly quiet in the first half.
Later in the match after a half-time pep talk, Real Madrid had numerous opportunities to score but the keeper or the crossbar always managed to deny them. In the end, everyone was thinking about Benzema and how much he is needed for the PSG match.
Indeed, Benzema himself must have been watching what transpired at Villarreal, and decided to reassure fans that he is doing his best to return as soon as possible. Just minutes after the draw, he took to social media to share a video from the gym saying, “Let’s go! Fully motivated. I’m coming back strong, very strong.”
Since Benzema’s injury, Real Madrid were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Athletic Club. They managed to scrape past Granada with a 1-0 victory, but their draw against Villarreal has made fans nervous.
Nevertheless, the latest reports state that manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Benzema will play against PSG, but with him out of action until now, it remains a doubt if he can start. He has not yet trained with the group, and the medical team will not want to risk a relapse. The first leg of the last-16 clash will be played at the Parc des Princes in Paris, with the return leg scheduled on March 9 at the Santiago Bernabeu.