Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez has left embattled striker Karim Benzema out of the squad that has travelled to Andalucia to face Unai Emery’s Sevilla side on Sunday.

Benzema was recently put under formal police investigation by French authorities for allegedly blackmailing fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena over a sex-tape.


He has been been out of action since the beginning of October after injuring his left hamstring while playing for the French national side against Armenia and this latest hurdle in his career is not helping his cause.

Gareth Bale, on the other hand, will be making his long awaited return to the Los Blancos squad after being out injured for the last 4 weeks.

Benzema left out, Bale back in Real Madrid squad

Real Madrid manager gave an injury update on his squad ahead of his side’s pivotal clash with Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium on Sunday.

“He’s [Benzema] in the final stages of his recovery. We’ve decided to leave him here so he can get back to 100% fitness. He’s in good spirits, but he won’t be travelling to Seville,” said Benitez (via the club’s official website).

“He returned the other day, trained, did his work for that day and that’s all I’m going to say. 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.”

On Bale, Benitez said, “We still have to finalise the final squad for this game, but Gareth will be included. If he’s made it into the squad that means there’s a chance he’ll play, but we still have to see for how long”.

Asked about the fitness concerns that currently surround Keylor Navas and James Rodriguez, Benitez revealed, “We’re not taking any chances with him. We knew he had a muscle strain and that’s still the case, so we don’t want to risk it and make things worse. I have total faith in Kiko and we’d rather not take any chances.”

“He’s [James] been out injured for 55 days and I’m delighted that he’s itching to play again. He’s an important player for us, not just for two or three games but for the whole season.”

Bale return will boost Real Madrid’s attacking potency

Real Madrid has been crippled by a whole host of injuries suffered by many of its attacking players over the course of the season. Without the services of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Luka Modric; Cristiano Ronaldo has often cut a frustrated figure upfront in most of the matches played this season, especially the two European clashes against Paris Saint-Germain.

Gareth Bale has been suffering from a controversial injury crisis which saw him play the full 90 minutes for his national team Wales in two friendlies, while missing out in Real Madrid’s Champions League game against PSG. But Real Madrid and Rafa Benitez will definitely be boosted by the return of the Welsh superstar after he missed the last 4 weeks due to injury.

The return of Gareth Bale to the starting lineup will provide the Los Merengues the additional spark in front of goal that has been missing in the absence of several key players.