Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema declared fit for El Clasico, 18 March 2023, 15:39
Real Madrid will have Karim Benzema available for Sunday's La Liga clash with Barcelona at Camp Nou.

There had been some doubt over the Frenchman's availability when he was forced off with a knock in the latter stages of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Liverpool.

Benzema was unable to take part in team training with Real Madrid on Friday, which further strengthened claims that he would miss out on Sunday, but the 35-year-old has been named in the squad for El Clasico.

The striker has struggled with a number of fitness problems this season and was not involved in last weekend's league clash with Espanyol due to a knock.

Benzema has still managed to score 19 goals and contribute five assists in 28 appearances in 2022-23 despite his injury issues, though, and a recent report claimed that he is close to signing a new contract, with his existing terms due to expire this summer.

Ferland Mendy was back on the bench against Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday, with the defender recovering from the issue that has kept him out since the end of January.

As a result, David Alaba is currently Real Madrid's only injured player, with the Austria international still on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.

However, Alvaro Rodriguez will also be absent for Los Blancos on Sunday night due to a suspension.

The 18-year-old picked up his fifth booking of the campaign while representing Real Madrid Castilla against Deportivo La Coruna last week.

Arguably Carlo Ancelotti's biggest decision on Sunday will come in midfield, with the Italian having a number of options to choose from.

Aurelien Tchouameni was only a late substitute against Liverpool last time out, with Eduardo Camavinga impressing in recent weeks, and the manager was asked about both players during his pre-match press conference on Saturday afternoon.

"Camavinga is doing very well as Tchouameni did well and both have replaced a legend like Casemiro very well. With the two of them, Real Madrid can have a very good future," he said.

Ancelotti was also full of praise for Vinicius Junior and Eder Militao, telling reporters: "I may lose credibility if I say Vinicius and Militao are the best striker and defender in the world respectively but it's the truth. I am honest. Militao lacks nothing. The only flaw he has is that he is not always 100% focused."

Real Madrid are currently second in the La Liga table, nine points behind leaders Barcelona.

Real Madrid squad vs. Barcelona:

Courtois, Lunin, Lopez; Carvajal, Militao, Vallejo, Nacho, Odriozola, Vazquez, Rudiger, Mendy; Kroos, Modric, Camavinga, Valverde, Tchouameni, Ceballos; Hazard, Benzema, Asensio, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Mariano

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