Benitez rests recovering stars ahead of Paris match



Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale will sit out Saturday’s Liga visit from Las Palmas due to injuries, Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez has revealed.

Costa Rica goalkeeper Navas has been Madrid’s outstanding player of the season so far, conceding just three goals in 12 games.

However, Benitez said on Friday the risks in forcing any of his stars into an early comeback outweighed the positives, with a Champions League clash with French Champions Paris Saint-Germain to come on Tuesday.

“Our priority is to always do the best for Real Madrid and the players,” he said at this pre-match press conference.

“Keylor has a strain and we are not going to risk him, nor Sergio, nor James or Benzema.

“They could force it and be very close to being ready in time, but we don’t want to do that because we have a lot of games coming up and we think we have the resources to face the next game.”

Bale has been sidelined for the past two weeks by a calf injury and Benitez claimed his recovery was going as expected, but the Welshman isn’t likely to be in contention to return against PSG in midweek.

Madrid have had particularly bad luck with players being injured on international duty this season.

Rodriguez hasn’t played since suffering a thigh tear in a friendly with Colombia against Peru nearly two months ago, whilst Bale’s latest calf problem came just days after he played 90 minutes in a meaningless qualifier against Andorra after Wales had already secured their place in Euro 2016.

Yet, both are expected to be called up by their national teams again next week and Benitez admitted he is powerless to stop them playing.

“According to FIFA’s laws if they are fit and called up by their national teams we cannot prevent them from going,” he added.

“What we want is for all our players to be in the best condition possible so that they can perform for us and obviously for their national teams too.”

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