Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has handed Zinedine Zidane a much-needed boost by returning to training ahead of the crucial trip to Atletico Madrid on Saturday (19 November). The news is particularly welcome at the Santiago Bernabeu after it emerged Alvaro Morata suffered a grade 2 hamstring injury on international duty, which will keep him out of action for around a month.
Benzema missed the 3-0 win over Leganes on 6 November due to injury. Original reports suggested his absence was just a precautionary measure, but his availability for the Madrid derby has been seen as doubtful in recent days as the Frenchman continued training alone during the international break.
But it looks that the striker could face Atletico Madrid after returning to full training with the rest of his teammates for the first time since the injury on Thursday.
"Real Madrid completed the fourth session of the week and continued their preparations for the Madrid derby, which will take place on Saturday at the Vicente Calderón. Benzema joined the group for a session in which Zidane had more international players at his disposal: Varane, James, Carvajal and Nacho. Keylor Navas did not arrive back from Costa Rica in time following the international game he featured in," the Champions League winners confirmed via their official website.
It is unclear whether the Frenchman will be 100% fit to start on Saturday following his time on the sidelines. However, Zidane may have his hand forced following Morata's latest injury blow.
The Spanish striker has already begun the recovery process alongside Toni Kroos in a bid to return to action as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Casemiro and Pepe were unable to train with the rest of the group on Thursday and remain a major doubt for the trip to the Vicente Calderon.
"Kroos and Morata continue with their recovery processes, while Casemiro and Pepe trained out on the pitch away from the rest of their teammates," the club said.