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Ancelotti confirms Benzema’s absence from Barcelona clash, heaps praise on Xavi

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Ahead of the Real Madrid vs Barcelona on the weekend, Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media as part of his pre-game press conference. There were a lot of questions surrounding his preparation for that game, and especially injuries to Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy.

“Karim and Mendy will not play tomorrow,” he confirmed almost as soon as he sat down. The French duo picked up injuries in their 0-3 routing of Mallorca last weekend, and have not participated in group training since.

Naturally, Ancelotti was interrogated about Benzema’s replacement. Gareth Bale returned to training today, and has played in that position this season, while Marco Asensio and Rodrygo can definitely fill in. Not to forget Luka Jovic, who is ideally Benzema’s deputy.

“Bale is one of the options. We also have Mariano, Jovic, Isco, Rodrygo. We have several options. I will choose the best tomorrow.”

“We can win without Benzema. Karim is a key piece in the team but without him we will try and do the same things,” he added.

Barcelona have seen consideable improvement since the last time the two sides met. Xavi has implemented a clear tactical blueprint, which Ancelotti praised openly.

“The identity of their team does not change, Barcelona have a very clear style of play. Xavi embodies this style, he is doing very well. Their team has improved a lot.”

Source: Real Madrid

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