Blow for Real Madrid as Karim Benzema faces at least one month on sidelines
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema faces at least a month out with a hamstring injury, according to reports in Spain.
The France exile was substituted in the first half of Saturday's disappointing draw with Levante at the Bernabeu, with Real later confirming he had injured his hamstring and "his recovery will continue to be assessed".
Reports in the Spanish press estimate his absence at four to six weeks and he looks sure to at least sit out Real's six matches in 19 days in LaLiga and the Champions League before next month's international break.
The first of the league matches, against Real Sociedad next Sunday, comes with Cristiano Ronaldo still serving a five-match domestic suspension for pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea in the Supercopa de Espana last month.
That leaves Borja Mayoral as the only specialist centre-forward available to coach Zinedine Zidane in San Sebastian.
Gareth Bale lors de Real Madrid-LevanteGetty Images
The 20-year-old has played only six minutes of first-team football this season, as a late substitute in August's draw with Valencia, and was not even on the bench against Levante.
Gareth Bale took Benzema's place in the number nine role on Saturday but was unable to find the target. The likes of Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez or Isco could also be pressed into service in a more advanced role.
Ronaldo is available for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Cypriot side APOEL and can make his domestic return a week later against Real Betis.