Updates from Friday, May 23
Karim Benzema will have a fitness test hours before kick-off to decide if he is fit for the Champions League final against Atletico.
According to Merengue sources, Pepe is a major doubt due to a muscle injury to his calf, but hopes are brighter for Benzema, who will undergo a fitness test on the eve of the game to see how his damaged abductor muscle responds before a definitive decision is made.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti provided more info on Benzema, according to the Champions League's official Twitter feed:
Ancelotti: "@Cristiano has trained without a problem but Pepe and Benzema haven't trained this week. We'll make a decision tomorrow."— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 23, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, May 20
Carlo Ancelotti confirmed on Tuesday that Karim Benzema remains a serious doubt for Real Madrid's Champions League final showdown with Atletico.
Real Madrid's official Twitter account and ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan reported the following:
Ancelotti on Benzema & Pepe: "We Must be realistic - at this moment they cant play. We have four days, we will take the decision at the end"— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 20, 2014
Ancelotti: "Even if [Benzema] has not trained for these days, if there is no risk of injury, he will play."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 20, 2014
Updates from Monday, May 19
Benzema is battling a groin problem, and Marca's P. Polo reports:
Pepe is making excellent progress and, barring any setbacks, will be fit for Lisbon. Cristiano Ronaldo is also shaping up well ahead of the clash against Atlético: his test results following the Espanyol scare didn't reveal anything major, so he will be able to lead Real's quest for 'La Décima'.
Things are more up in the air, however, where Karim Benzema is concerned.
Cristiano and Benzema's fitness issues will prevent Carlo Ancelotti from working with his first-choice line-up throughout the week. The two forwards are going to be wrapped in cotton wool until the day of the final and even in the best-case scenario will only join up with the rest of the squad in training from Thursday. Until then, the pair will be left in the hands of the club's physios.
With the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid just a week away, the last thing Real Madrid can afford is injuries to key players.
They might be out of luck in that regard, as star forward Karim Benzema had to leave Saturday's game against Espanyol.
Fox Soccer Trax has more:
In SPAIN, Karim Benzema has come off with what looks like a possible groin injury - have to wait for updates on that situation— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) May 17, 2014
Meanwhile, Dermot Corrigan of ESPN passes along this picture of Benzema leaving the pitch:
But it appears as if fans shouldn't be too concerned according to Reuters:
Real Madrid forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have not suffered serious injuries and should be fit for next Saturday's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
If either Benzema or Ronaldo are unable to play for Los Blancos in the final—or heaven forbid, neither can play—it will be a huge blow to Madrid's chances.
Benzema would offer Real Madrid more than simply a goalscoring threat against their Madrid rivals. He's an excellent runner off the ball and is quite the passer as well, arguably one of the finest table-setters at the forward position in the world.
He's been brilliant for Los Blancos this season, scoring 17 goals and adding nine assists in La Liga play. His loss would not only be a blow for Real Madrid next weekend but also potentially next year, as recent reports suggest Arsenal are keen to add the French striker after the season ends.
I am here for the moment. We will see if I stay for my whole career but, for me, Madrid is the best club in the world. There is nothing higher. I have been playing at Madrid for five years, which shows that I am not bad as a footballer.
Hopefully, he will also be in the starting XI in Lisbon next weekend.