Ronaldo okay, but Benzema doubtful for Champions League semis

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Madrid, April 25 (IANS) Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema travel with the Real Madrid football squad to England on Monday ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City.

Ronaldo missed Madrid’s 3-2 win away over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday as he rested to protect his hamstring, while Benzema limped out of the game after suffering a possible muscle injury to his right leg, reports Xinhua.

Ronaldo was able to work with the Real Madrid squad in Sunday’s training session and should have no problems starting in Tuesday’s game, but Benzema, who worked in the gym is still a doubt and Madrid chief coach Zinedine Zidane has included young striker Borja Mayoral in the squad, although Lucas Vazquez would replace him in the starting 11 should he not recover in time.

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Real Madrid were able to rest several key footballers at the weekend and the likes of Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal will all start in the Ethiad Stadium against a Manchester City side which shares many of the virtues and weaknesses of Madrid.

The side coached by former Madrid tactician Manuel Pellegrini, has a devastating attack led by Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, but at times looks vulnerable in defence. It will be interesting to see if Pellegrini sticks with central defenders Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi, or risks the fitness of Vincent Kompany, who has only played one game in five weeks.

City also have a major doubt over Toure Yaya who appeared to suffer a thigh injury in Saturday’s 4-0 cruise over Stoke City and his absence robbed the English side of control and firepower in midfield for what promises to be an open and exciting semi-final.

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