Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has received a massive boost after reports in Spain claimed that the knee injury suffered by Karim Benzema during the Champions League quarter-final first-leg 2-0 defeat at Wolfsburg on Wednesday night was not as bad as first thought. Marca claims that the 28-year-old forward is expected to be rested for the La Liga game with Eibar on Saturday (9 April) but will be available to return to action three days later for the crucial second-leg of the European tie.
The former Lyon star picked up a problem in his knee in the early part of Wednesday's game at Wolfsburg after a collision with Naldo. Yet, the Frenchman continued playing through the pain until the 40th minute of the game when Zidane decided to replace him with academy forward Jese.
Zidane later explained his decision: "I asked Karim if he was ok. He told me he was and he therefore played on until he told me that he couldn't and I changed him." Earlier reports had indicated Benzema could be out of action for some weeks after revealing to journalists after the game that he had a major pain in his knee.
Marca and AS, however, claim the Real Madrid striker only suffered a minor knock and will be able to play next week against Wolfsburg. Zidane, is however not expected to risk him against Eibar so as to have him fully fit for the decisive Champions League encounter.
The news is a massive boost for Real Madrid ahead of keeping their hopes alive to win their 11th Champions League trophy. Nevertheless, they will host Eibar on Saturday just three days before the decisive encounter with the Bundesliga side, needing to score more than two goals at the Bernabeu to overturn the deficit.
Benzema's presence in the game will be crucial despite his niggling injuries. The Frenchman has been one of Real Madrid's best performers in their topsy-turvy campaign, having scored 25 goals in 28 appearances, including one in last weekend's victory over Barcelona in El Clasico.