Injuries test Real Madrid depth at home to Levante

Madrid, Oct 16 (IANS) Coach Rafael Benitez will have to work his way around a long injury list when he picks his club Real Madrid’s team to face Levante on Saturday afternoon for a La Liga football match.

The international break has wrecked its usual havoc on Real Madrid with both attackers Karim Benzema and Luka Modric picking up injuries which will keep them out of Saturday’s game. In Modric’s case the absence is likely to be longer after tests show a groin strain that could sideline him for up to three weeks, reports Xinhua.

The club are not happy that Modric stayed with the Croatian national side for their last European qualifying game in Malta, but the midfielder wanted to show support for his international team-mates in a vital match.

Benzema will be missed as he had been in fine form before the international break with many signalling his substitution against Atletico Madrid as the reason Real eventually dropped two points in the match.

The continued absence of forward James Rodriguez means Benzema’s absence will be further missed as it robs Benitez of creativity up the field.

Nevertheless the depth of Madrid’s squad means he still has plenty of options with Isco likely to start, while Casimiro, a defensive midfielder, will provide extra bite in the middle of the park.

Although defender Dani Carvajal is out with a calf injury, Danilo is back to fit in at right back, while veteran centre back Sergio Ramos has recovered from the shoulder injury which kept him out of the Spain national side.

Levante travel to Madrid with just six points and one win from their opening seven games of the season and are currently in 18th place in the table.

However Real Madrid will be mindful that their only win came just before the international break when they defeated league leaders, Villarreal, 1-0 in what was their best performance of the season.

Nevertheless with star strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale leading the Real Madrid attack and Isco lending support, logic says they will face a long 90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

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