Ronaldo and Benzema back for Champions semi-final

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema celebrate after one of Real Madrid's eight goals against Malmo (File Photo: Getty Images)

Real Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were both included in coach Zinedine Zidane’s squad for their Champions League semi-final, first leg at Manchester City on Tuesday despite fitness doubts.

Three-time World Player of the Year Ronaldo missed Saturday’s 3-2 win at Rayo Vallecano with a minor thigh injury, but is expected to start on his return to Manchester, where he spent six years with Manchester United between 2003 and 2009.

Benzema is a bigger doubt after limping off with a knee injury before half-time at Rayo.

Right-back Dani Carvajal also returns after two games out as Zidane has called-up all 23 available players for the trip to the Etihad.

Gareth Bale was Real’s hero as he scored twice to turn around a 2-0 deficit at Rayo.

And the Welshman – who returns to England for the first time since leaving Tottenham Hotspur three years ago – believes home advantage in the second leg gives Madrid the edge to reach a 14th European Cup final.

“I think that the most important thing is to score away from home,” he told the club’s website.

“At the Santiago Bernabeu we are very strong and obviously we’ll have a lot of chances.

“Playing the second leg at home is important psychologically. If we get a good result in the Etihad Stadium, back at the Bernabeu our fans are always going to help us.

“A win is always a good result, but as long as we don’t lose there, we’ll be very confident at the Bernabeu.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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