Real train for Madrid derby as Benzema remains unavailable - in pictures

Ancelotti says he is unperturbed by scrutiny over Vinicius's celebration and sudden focus on star player

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Real Madrid will have to manage without the services of star striker Karim Benzema for the derby clash with rivals Atletico Madrid.

The French forward missed the team's last two games with a thigh injury. He was hoping to be fit but manager Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Benzema did not train with the team on Saturday and will thus miss the clash.

"Benzema will not make the game," Ancelotti said ahead of Sunday's derby at the Wanda Metropolitano.

"He has started to work individually. He'll stay here during the international break to be ready to return when La Liga is back."

Meanwhile, Ancelotti said he fails to understand the increased media focus on Vinicius Junior after a week in which the Brazilian forward's personality has come under close scrutiny.

Vinicius faced criticism for arguing with Real Mallorca players in last week's 4-1 victory and the attention turned to his usual goal celebration, dancing by the corner flag, which has been interpreted as provocative to opponents.

Vinicius released a statement on Friday in response to the reaction, including one comment from a Spanish football panellist that has been interpreted as racist.

"My dances celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept it, respect it, I'm not going to stop," he wrote on Instagram.

Speaking ahead of the match against Atletico, Ancelotti fielded six questions about Vinicius, according to Reuters.

"I don't know what is happening with Vinicius, for me it's nothing, he is playing football with quality, joy and happiness," Ancelotti said.

"I don't need to give him any advice, I'm not his father or his brother, I'm his coach."

Updated: September 18, 2022, 3:43 AM