Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez has urged his team to focus on their match against Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday night amidst the Karim Benzema controversy that has recently engulfed the club.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was recently put under formal police investigation by the French authorities for allegedly blackmailing fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena over a sex-tape. If convicted of the alleged crime, Benzema faces a minimum of 5 years in prison.
Manager Rafa Benitez has left Benzema out of the 20-man squad that has travelled to Andalucia to face Unai Emery’s Sevilla side. He has also been left out of the French national squad that is scheduled to play two friendlies later this month against Germany and England. Mathieu Valbuena has also been left out of the French squad.
Rafa Benitez urges players to remain focused
Speaking to the media ahead of his side’s crucial away encounter against Sevilla, Rafa Benitez urged his side to remain focused on retaining their spot at the top of La Liga.
“It’s a tough ground to go to, the home supporters really get behind their team. Sevilla are a side with a spectacular record over recent years, although they’ve always been one of the big teams,” said Benitez via the club’s official website.
“It’s always a tricky stadium to go to and they’re always a tough team to play against. We know it won’t be an easy game and that we’ll need to be extremely focused.
a We need to impose our playing style during the match but even then it will be a difficult challenge. We’ll be required to play with the utmost concentration to avoid making any mistakes.
“Sevilla have a great manager, great fans and a great team. They have quality, physicality…they’re a very hard team to play against and just need to rediscover their form of the last few years.”
On the Benzema situation, Benitez added, “Karim has our full support. He still needs a bit of time to get back to full fitness. We don’t want to take any risks.
“Everyone who works with Karim knows what he’s like and all his team-mates and the club are fully behind him. The most sensible thing to do now is wait to see what the findings are.”
Real Madrid have to be at their best to beat a wounded Sevilla side
Sevilla were virtually knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in midweek following a 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester City. They will be looking to bounce back from the bitter disappointment in midweek by upsetting current La Liga leaders Real Madrid on Sunday.
Sevilla have had a miserable start to the new campaign and are currently in 13th position in the league after 10 matches played. However, the Europa League holders have a knack of turning it on against the big sides, especially at their highly intimidating Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Andalucia. Earlier this season, Sevilla beat Spanish champions FC Barcelona 2-1 at home courtesy of goals from Michael Krohn-Dehli and Vicente Iborra.
Rafa Benitez has already indicated in his press conference that his team are wary of the threat posed by Unai Emery’s men. Real Madrid will have to be at their very best in order to come away with all 3 points from Seville.
a Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) November 7, 2015