Karim Benzema a Real Madrid injury doubt ahead of El Clasico

The French striker has been in red-hot form for Los Blancos but could miss the big weekend fixture in Spain

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is a doubt for Sunday’s ‘El Clasico’ against Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu after LaLiga’s top scorer suffered a calf injury.

The France striker was injured after grabbing an assist and two late goals as LaLiga leaders Real Madrid defeated Mallorca 3-0 on Monday.

Real will host bitter rivals Barca with the opportunity to strengthen their hold on the title race and further boost their morale after their epic come-from-behind last-16 Champions League win over Paris St Germain last week.

With 66 points from 28 games, Real have a 10-point advantage over second-placed Sevilla and are 15 ahead of Barca in third.

With 11 matches to play, they are on a high and have a LaLiga-European Cup double in their sights this season.

Both Real and Barca are on four-game winning streaks and are playing with a lot of confidence.

Sunday’s encounter will give visiting coach Xavi Hernandez a chance to see how much his team have progressed since his arrival in mid-November.

Having fallen to ninth in the table when Ronald Koeman was fired, Xavi has revitalised Barca and they are unbeaten since their extra-time defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on 20 January, having scored 20 goals in their last six league games.

Another win would confirm that Barca are heading in the right direction after pushing the reset button following the loss of Lionel Messi in the close season due to their financial problems.

Even if making a late run for LaLiga’s title looks a bit of a stretch, they are still fighting to finish in the top four and secure a spot in the Champions League next season with only four points separating Barca from Real Sociedad in sixth.

Spanish media have reported that Benzema could sit out Sunday’s game and then stay in Madrid for treatment during the international break instead of joining up with the France squad for their friendly games against Ivory Cost and South Africa.

Real Madrid announced that defender Ferland Mendy will miss the next two weeks with a hamstring injury but Rodrygo, who also suffered an injury against Mallorca, should be available for Sunday’s game.

Fernando Kallas for Reuters

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