Karim Benzema has joined Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal, Fede Valverde, Rodrygo Goes, Alvaro Odriozola and Eder Militao on the absentees list for Los Blancos
Zinedine Zidane will therefore be without nine first-team players for the trip to Bergamo, barring any last-minute surprises, and the goal will simply be to return to Madrid alive.
In one swoop, the absence of Benzema also sees Real Madrid lose his 17 goals, exactly 34 percent of the team’s goals this season. But Los Blancos are also without Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo Goes, all of whom had scored at least one goal.
In other words, Zidane is travelling to Italy with a squad that has scored just 23 goals between them, with the top scorer being Casemiro with six. He is joined on the podium by Luka Modric’s four and Vinicius Junior’s three.
“It’s what we have and we’ll prepare well for the game,” Zidane said.
The Real Madrid boss has known since Friday that it was extremely unlikely that Benzema would be back in time to face Atalanta, even though the striker did his all to ensure that he would make it. There was no miracle in the end.
This should see Zidane repeat his plan from the 1-0 victory away at Valladolid last weekend, with Lucas Vazquez playing out of position at right-back, no Ramos and with Mariano Diaz, who the club tried to sell last summer, as the No.9. The bench will once again be made up of Castilla players, plus Isco.