Real Madrid managed to register three crucial points in a week where both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona slipped up with a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid. The Blancos went into the game with a massive injury crisis, but a header from Casemiro in the second half was enough to seal the points and the result on the night.
As they prepare for their travel to Bergamo to face Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta, here is a look at some of the latest Real Madrid news.
Blancos hit with massive injury blow as Karim Benzema absent from squad
Real Madrid's injury situation just went from bad to worse as Karim Benzema is set to miss the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie with Atalanta Bergamo. The French veteran missed the Valladolid game with an injury and failed to recover in time for the round of 16 clash in Italy, which is a massive blow to Zinedine Zidane's side.
While Mariano Diaz is the likeliest replacement for Benzema in the starting XI, Real Madrid are still left with just 11 senior outfield players available for selection, as they did for their LaLiga Santander fixture at the weekend. Notable absentees include Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, Fede Valverde, and Dani Carvajal, among others.
Real Madrid target Renato Tapia as long-term Casemiro replacement
Real Madrid are weighing up a move for Celta Vigo star Renato Tapia as a potential long-term replacement for Casemiro, as per reports. The Peruvian has impressed with his displays for Celta and has caught Real Madrid's attention, and at just 25 years of age, he could remain at the club in the long-run.
Tapia could also be a cheaper alternative to priority target Eduardo Camavinga. The French wonderkid is believed to be Zinedine Zidane's first-choice understudy and eventual replacement for the Brazilian holding midfielder, but Camavinga's agent claims that his client could go for over €50m, making it a difficult deal for Real Madrid in the current climate.
Vinicius Jr rules out Real Madrid exit
Blancos forward Real Madrid has refuted any transfer rumours linking him with a loan move away from the club, saying that he wants to remain with Los Blancos 'forever'. The Brazilian moved to the capital club for a whopping €45m, but the club are yet to see the best of him, and he has been regularly linked with moves to the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, among others.
When asked if there's any truth in reports suggesting that a loan could be on the cards, the Brazilian winger explained;
"No. I'm always focused on wanting to be at Real Madrid, being with the best players, learning alongside the best players. I'm 20 years old, and it seems as though I've been playing for many years, but I'm only at the beginning of my career. I'm learning a lot from the players that are here, those that play in my position. I want to stay at Real Madrid forever."
Apart from the two Premier League clubs, Paris Saint-Germain have also reportedly kept tabs on Vinicius. He could potentially be used as part of a deal that could see Kylian Mbappe move to the Santiago Bernabeu in the future.