Real Madrid will be without Casemiro and Karim Benzema on Wednesday evening but the return of Cristiano Ronaldo gives fans of the Champions League’s most successful club something to celebrate.
A semi-final second leg beckons and Madrid will be hoping to face local rivals Atlético, who defeated Bayern Munich thanks to the away goals rule on Tuesday, in this season’s final.
Those hopes have been done some damage as defensive midfielder and star striker Casemiro and Benzema have been ruled out of the game.
While Madrid tend to focus on their attacking play, Casemiro sits behind technical players Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos to shore up the midfield. Without him, the entire team could be vulnerable when Man City come forward.
With that in mind, it’s even worse news for the Spanish side that Karim Benzema has been ruled out: his link-up play in front of goal is absolutely crucial and Madrid could struggle without it. If Manchester City score, the hosts will have to score even more and Benzema’s absence makes that trickier.
Not to fear: Cristiano Ronaldo is back.
The Portuguese has 47 goals in 44 appearances this season, netting 16 of those in 10 Champions League games and 11 in five Champions League home matches. He won’t be as dangerous without the French focal point leading Madrid’s attack but he certainly gives City a lot to worry about.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are without David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta themselves but Yaya Touré could feature.by