Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari has praised Karim
Benzema's excellent run of form, particularly as the striker is playing through
the pain of a broken finger.Benzema sustained the injury during Madrid's win over Real
Betis earlier this month and the decision was taken to skip surgery so the
Frenchman could avoid missing matches.His availability has been a major boost to the team, with
Benzema arguably Real's player of the season so far.
The 31-year-old has
stepped up following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, who left last summer
for Juventus."Karim has had a long career with many peaks but he is
in a great moment," Solari said at a press conference on Saturday."He is having a great season and he's a very generous
player in the way he understands football.
He makes the players around him
better."Also he is particularly generous at the moment because
he is playing with a fracture in his finger and he is playing with pain.
a team player in every sense of the word."Madrid face Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday as they look to
close a 10-point gap on leaders Barcelona and maintain their mini-revival,
which has seen them win four out of their last five matches.Gareth Bale trained with the squad on Saturday and could
feature this weekend, although next week's Copa del Rey second leg against
Girona might offer a smoother return for the Welshman, who has shaken off a
Bale's availability will create a selection dilemma for
Solari, given how well Vinicius Junior has played alongside Benzema up front.
Asked if Bale's place is guaranteed, Solari said:
"Gareth is very important to us because he is a fantastic footballer.
see who plays tomorrow and we'll see who plays next week."It means Isco's chances of regaining his place in the side
will not get any easier, particularly with Marco Asensio also due back from
Isco helped Madrid beat Girona 4-2 on Thursday after coming off
the bench with the score level at 2-2."A game like that is won by all members of the squad,
those who start the game, those who come on, and everyone who trains each
day," Solari said.Goalkeeper Keylor Navas and defender Jesus Vallejo are now
Madrid's only injured players.
Navas has a torn adductor while Vallejo is
recovering from a hamstring strain.