Madrid’s league ambitions feeling European strain
MADRID (AP) Real Madrid’s run in the Champions League might be hurting its chances in the Spanish league.
While Cristiano Ronaldo is healthy after returning from a leg injury and will start against Osasuna on Saturday, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday several players could miss the match.
Striker Karim Benzema and defender Pepe both have sore knees from Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League win over Bayern Munich, and forward Gareth Bale ”is still a little weak” from the flu.
”We’re going to try and recover our energy and remain concentrated in the fight for the league. Our objective is to win every game, but it won’t be easy because we used up a lot of our energy against Bayern,” Ancelotti said. ”We’ll try to recover, but physically we are not 100 percent.”
Madrid trails leader Atletico Madrid by six points but has a game in hand.
The Spanish club plays the return leg at Bayern on Tuesday, keen to advance from the semifinals of Europe’s top competition after failing for the past three seasons.
”I’m not thinking about that,” the Italian said. ”My mind is on Osasuna. We won’t make many changes to our team for Tuesday.”
Ancelotti said midfielder Sami Khedira was in the final stages of his return from a serious knee injury, and the Germany international would likely play before the end of the season.
”He’s doing very well. He’s ready to go, I just can’t say when,” Ancelotti said.