Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema out for Real Madrid | sports | Hindustan Times
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Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema out for Real Madrid

sports Updated: Apr 03, 2011 13:49 IST

Real Madrid will be without winger Cristiano Ronaldo and striker Karim Benzema for Saturday's Spanish league match against Sporting Gijon and also are expected to miss Tuesday's Champions League game against Tottenham.

Ronaldo, who leads the team with 37 goals in all competitions but has been hobbled by a leg injury, was left out of the team by Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.

Benzema was injured while on international duty with France and was also left out of the team, as was Brazil playmaker Kaka and Brazil fullback Marcelo.

"The information I have from the medical department is that Cristiano can only play in Bilbao, Marcelo can only play in Bilbao and Karim can only play in Bilbao," Mourinho said Friday. "If they were available they would play tomorrow because it's the most decisive game since against Tottenham we'll have the chance to change things in the return leg."

Madrid faces Tottenham in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday, and then plays at Athletic Bilbao the following Sunday. The second leg against Tottenham will be played in London on April 13.

Ronaldo has been bothered by leg problems since the start of March. He has failed to score for four games and skipped Portugal's international games to recover.

Madrid is five points behind Spanish league leader Barcelona with nine rounds to play.

"If we don't win tomorrow the championship will be even more difficult," Mourinho said. "We can rest the injured, which are a lot, but (unfortunately) I can't leave players like (Mesut) Oezil, (Angel) Di Maria and (Ricardo) Carvalho on the bench."

Madrid, however, will be boosted by the return of striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has recovered from back surgery.

The Argentine will play for the first time since November to likely back up Emmanuel Adebayor in attack. The 23-year-old Higuain scored 10 goals before the injury.

"Not even with the best estimate would we expect him to return to playing so soon," Mourinho said. "We're very happy. It's a positive surprise since we could still play up to 15 games before the final round and to have him is important."

Madrid will also play in the Copa del Rey final on April 20 against Barcelona.