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Zidane says Benzema can start in Madrid derby

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Madrid, Nov 18 (IANS) Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane on Friday said his team was ready for the upcoming La Liga football derby against Atletico Madrid and confirmed the inclusion of French striker Karim Benzema on Saturday.

Benzema has been troubled by a hip problem recently but the 28-year-old is training and in better shape, according to Zidane.

"It's an important match. We're going into it in good shape and we've got players back following the international break. We've got a few problems, as can happen, but we're focused on what we have to do tomorrow," Zidane said Friday in a press conference, reports Efe.

"Karim is in the squad. He's back with us and he's feeling better. I'm happy to have him back -- he's ready to play from the start so we'll see tomorrow whether he'll be in the line-up or not," said the French coach.

About the alternative plan if Benzema does not play, Zidane said: "We can change the system but we always have one idea. We want to play, we know how difficult the game will be because we're up against a very good opponent but we're not going to change."

He also talked about Alvaro Morata's injury with Spain. "These things happen and I'm not going to blame anyone. We're not happy about the injury but it happens. The important thing is to get him back quickly," he said.

"Casemiro still needs time. He's getting better every day and we'll have a look at him next week. Sergio (Ramos) has trained well and we'll look at how we're going to play tomorrow. He's our captain and it's great to have him back with us. He's very important for the group," Zidane added about the line-up.

The coach also talked about the opponent, Atletico Madrid. "They're a team that keeps improving every year. They've got a very good coach who has changed a lot since his arrival and he's doing a fantastic job. It's a good game to play in," he said.

--IANS

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