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Ancelotti says Benzema will start against Shakhtar

Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that striker Karim Benzema is fit and will start for Real Madrid against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, ahead of Sunday’s Clasico against Barcelona.

Benzema will lead the attack for Madrid on Tuesday in Warsaw, where Shakhtar are playing their home matches because of the Russian war on Ukraine.

The forward missed the 1-0 win at Getafe on Saturday in La Liga, after featuring in two matches following his comeback from a thigh injury. Vinicius Junior may be rested, with the Clasico in mind.

“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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