Courtois expected to play in ‘El Clásico’

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Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti expects goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to return from injury in time for Sunday’s Clasico clash with Barcelona.

Carlo Ancelotti expects goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to return from injury in time for Sunday’s Clasico clash with Barcelona.

Real Madrid ruled Courtois out for an undetermined period at the start of the month when they revealed he was suffering from sciatica.

That came shortly after the most recent international window, meaning Courtois has not played for Madrid since the 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid on 18 September.

He has missed three games in all competitions and will also be absent when Madrid go to Warsaw to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday.

But crucially, Ancelotti’s first-choice goalkeeper is predicted to be ready for Sunday’s top-of-the-table duel with Barca at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Courtois is much better,” Ancelotti said on Monday.

“The plan is for him to start training on Thursday and be ready for Sunday. We have spoken with him and he is much better.”

Start for Benzema in Warsaw
While Courtois will not feature in Poland, Karim Benzema is set to start.

The Frenchman was out for three weeks after sustaining a thigh injury in the Champions League win over Celtic last month before returning in the 1-1 draw with Osasuna on October 2.

Ancelotti acknowledged prior to the 1-0 weekend win over Getafe that Benzema was “a bit tired” and proceeded to leave him out for the short trip, but he will be back on Tuesday.

“Karim is fine and it’s clear that tomorrow he starts, with [Toni] Kroos and [Ferland] Mendy, who are fresh and are going to play,” Ancelotti said.

But Vinicius Junior, who has started all of Madrid’s 12 games in all competitions this season, could be due a rest.

“Vini is one of the players that I have to evaluate because he has played everything before this trip. We have to evaluate him.”

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