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Feature: Why this returning Real Madrid star can help Zidane’s side topple Barcelona

Karim Benzema returned to training this week and could be in line to make his Real Madrid comeback this weekend.

He may not be the most celebrated member of the Merengues squad, but could his return spark a late title tilt for Zinedine Zidane’s side?

On the face of it, it’s going to be mighty difficult for Real to usurp Barcelona as La Liga leaders, even if the Catalan giants face a tricky trip to fourth-place Villarreal this weekend, one of their last true tests between now and the end of the campaign.

Zinedine Zidane

It’s not unfeasible that the Yellow Submarine could end Barca’s 38-game undefeated streak, and then, with the Clasico on the horizon (April 2nd) after the international break, the next two domestic games will surely be decisive in deciding where the title ends up.

Real host Sevilla on Sunday in a match that the Merengues will be hoping to win, and should feel confident of doing so considering their immense home record.

The Blancos may well be able to call upon Benzema, with Madrid confirming on their Twitter account earlier in the week that the France international had returned to training.

The striker has been absent since February 27 when he was injured in the derby against Atletico Madrid, and while Real have kept their momentum going in his absence, tricky upcoming fixtures against Barca, Wolfsburg and Villarreal will be better tackled with the hitman back leading the line.

Despite spending his fair share of time on the sidelines—and making less than 20 starts this season (the only player in the division’s top 10 goalscorers to have played so little)—Benzema’s tally of 19 so far this term is impressive.

He has scored only one fewer than the celebrated Neymar (who has bagged 20 goals in 25 games) and only three fewer than Lionel Messi, who has started 22 games.

Lionel Messi World Club Cup final

Indeed, as identified by Goal, the forward’s 23 goals have been directly responsible for 10 points for Zidane’s team, which is considerable portion of their 63-point haul to date this season. Benz regularly scores important goals—something that cannot necessarily be said about some of his fellow La Liga hitmen.

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With Benzema’s world-class qualities back in attack, expect Real to finish the season strongly, both domestically and in Europe.

Truthfully, the title is firmly Barcelona’s to lose, but if Luis Enrique’s side do suffer a late-season wobble, then Benzema could be the man to ensure that Real are there to pick up the pieces.

 

 

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