Benitez hopeful of Ramos and Danilo return for Levante clash

Published 10/16/2015, 11:17 AM EDT
Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez reacts before their Spanish first division soccer match against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames stadium in Bilbao, northern Spain, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Vincent West


MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid face a crunch few weeks in the midst of an injury crisis but coach Rafa Benitez is hopeful Sergio Ramos and Danilo could be fit to face Levante at home on Saturday.

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Both France’s Karim Benzema and Croatia’s Luka Modric picked up injuries on international duty and join a packed treatment room with Pepe, James Rodriguez and Dani Carvajal ruled out of the game.

“At the moment Danilo is improving and we will decide on whether to risk Sergio (Ramos) or not,” Benitez told a news conference on Friday.

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“The players that are injured should be returning soon and there are other players returning from international games who are tired but are ready to play.”

Modric is expected to be out for several weeks.

Real are in a three-way tie for second place in La Liga and a point off leaders Villarreal.

Benitez blamed the injuries on a crowded fixture list.

“All teams have had injuries. The risk is greater with so many international games. If they are away with their national teams then we cannot control that. We try and organise it as best we can,” he said.

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“With so many top level games taking place it means that the risks are a lot higher. There is nothing that we can do with the calendar, I just concentrate on what I can solve.”

Real have drawn their last two league matches La Liga and Benitez scoffed at suggestions of any dressing room negativity.

“There is a very good mood, the players are competitive and there are no issues,” said Benitez, responding to claims by Gareth Bale’s agent that the Welsh international did not get on with Portugal striker Ronaldo.

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“I can’t control what is said in the media or by agents but the players need to be and are united for the good of Madrid. The players are fully concentrated on competing well and winning.”

(Reporting by Tim Hanlon in Barcelona, editing by Justin Palmer)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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