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Ancelotti says Benzema will start against Shakhtar.

Ancelotti says Benzema will start against Shakhtar.

Karim Benzema will start for Real Madrid against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, according to Carlo Ancelotti, ahead of the Clasico against Barcelona on Sunday.


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Benzema will spearhead Madrid’s attack on Tuesday in Warsaw, where Shakhtar is playing their home matches due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The attacker missed Saturday’s 1-0 LaLiga triumph at Getafe after playing in two games after returning from a thigh injury. Vinicius Junior may be rested in preparation for the Clasico.

“Vini is one of the players I have to evaluate because he’s played everything. He played on Saturday night, we had the travel today, we have to evaluate it,” said Ancelotti.

“Karim is doing well. We’re quite sure he’ll start the game tomorrow. He will play, like (Toni) Kroos, (Ferland) Mendy, who are fresh and will play.”

Real Madrid are top of Group F and can seal qualification to the last 16 with a win over Shakhtar.

Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin will start again against the side from his homeland, although Ancelotti said Thibaut Courtois was feeling better after sciatica and could return for the Clasico.

“Andriy is quite shy. He’s not a person that talks too much, it’s normal that everything that is happening affects him, as it affects everyone in Ukraine,” said Ancelotti.

“The only thing that we can do it offer solidarity. If he needs anything, we are here to help him.”

“He’s doing well. He’s young. He has a lot of quality. These games help him gain experience and knowledge, the only things he needs, because he has the qualities of a great goalkeeper.”

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Daniel Mathias

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