Real Madrid's Ancelotti hopeful over Benzema fitness

AFP , Sunday 3 May 2015

Real Madrid coach Ancelotti
Real Madrid coach Ancelotti

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful of having striker Karim Benzema fit to face Juventus in the first-leg of their Champions League semifinal on Tuesday.

The French international missed his fifth consecutive game as the European champions kept alive their La Liga title hopes with a 3-2 win at Sevilla on Saturday thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick to remain within two points of Barcelona.

Gareth Bale did make his comeback from two weeks out with a calf problem at the Sanchez Pizjuan as a second-half substitute and could well start against in Turin in midweek.

"Benzema we will see in the next two days," said the Italian.

"Tomorrow we will see if he can train with the team. The good thing is that Bale played 30 minutes without any problems. We have recovered a very important player (in Bale) and it would be even better if we could get Karim back too."

While Madrid were pushed to the last minute to finally end Sevilla's 34-game unbeaten run at home stretching back 13 months, Juventus were able to rest a number of key players as they sealed their 31st Serie A title with victory at Sampdoria.

However, Ancelotti insisted that the confidence gained from such a big win is just as important as the energy his side spent in Andalucia.

"It is a very important victory because it allows us to fight for the league and it gives us confidence for the game on Tuesday given the way in which we played.

"Hope is the last thing to die. Therefore, we have to have hope until the end. We have to win the next three games."

Barcelona looked in supreme form as they humiliated Cordoba 8-0 to register their 26th win in 28 games.

However, just one slip up from the Catalans can hand Madrid the title due to Los Blancos' superior head-to-head record.

And with Barca still to visit reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, Sergio Ramos said Madrid wouldn't give up the fight for just their second La Liga title in seven years.

"I know from experience it was going to be very difficult to win here, we have given everything to get these three points which oblige Barcelona to keep winning," said the Spanish international, who was once again used in an emergency midfield role by Ancelotti.

"It has been a long time since Sevilla lost at home and that is to Madrid's credit.

"Until mathematically a champion is crowned, we are obliged to keep pushing, keep winning and hoping for an error from Barcelona. It is very difficult because they are playing at a very good, consistent level.

"It doesn't matter what happens in the future, we have to live in the present and give everything in every game."

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