Karim Benzema injury 'very light,' says Ancelotti as Real Madrid see off Valencia

Win over 10-man Valencia left the champions five points behind league leaders Barcelona after 19 games

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Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has allayed fears over star striker Karim Benzema, describing the injury he sustained in Thursday's win against Valencia as "very light".

The French forward, 35, was taken off after 60 minutes of Madrid's 2-0 win at the Bernabeu holding the back of his thigh.

"Karim's seems something very light, but this is what happens when you play every three days and there is no time to recover," Ancelotti told DAZN.

The coach had complained about the intense football calendar ahead of the game, with Madrid heading to Morocco next week to play in the Club World Cup, while still in the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

Benzema missed France's World Cup campaign injured and had also suffered various problems in the first half of the season, missing nine Madrid games.

Eder Militao was taken off injured with another apparent thigh injury against Valencia.

Ancelotti was more pessimistic about the Brazilian defender's hopes of playing in the club's next league game against Real Mallorca.

"Militao I don't think will recover, not for Sunday," said Ancelotti.

Real Madrid currently have defenders Ferland Mendy, David Alaba and Lucas Vazquez out injured, while Aurelien Tchouameni returned as a substitute against Valencia after a calf problem.

The win over Valencia left the champions five points behind league leaders Barcelona after 19 games.

Spectacular goals from Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior — his 50th goal on his 200th appearance for the club — sealed victory against Valencia.

The duo struck in a three-minute second half salvo which stunned the visitors, and Valencia were later reduced to 10 men when Gabriel Paulista took a wild hack at Vinicius.

"We have to protect Vinicius a bit, he's a very expressive kid, he dribbles a lot and defences don't like that," Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told DAZN.

"We need that Vini. In a lot of games he's been kicked a lot. I am happy that the referee had the bravery to send off Paulista.

"Not just because it's Vini — if we did that then we would have to be sent off too."

Updated: February 03, 2023, 5:14 AM