Zinedine Zidane insists he will not take any risks with Karim Benzema as Real Madrid prepare to take on Sevilla for the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday.
The France striker has been struggling with a hip problem and only recently resumed normal training.
And despite his involvement in full sessions, Benzema may have to settle for a place on the bench with head coach Zidane – who is also without Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale – erring on the side of caution.
“Karim is doing fine, but he did not play our last few games and we will not take any risks,” Zidane said at a news conference ahead of the contest in Serbia.
“He has worked hard and has done all the preparations. We will see whether he will play.
“The important thing is that he’s here with the group and that there are no more problems.”
Zidane is likely to give Alvaro Morata the nod ahead of Benzema and he is adamant the striker, who re-joined Madrid from Juventus in June, is ready for the challenge ahead.
“Juventus have been an important club to him. It’s a place where you can develop and I think he’s grown a lot,” Zidane added.
“He has returned home and has been working hard. He is ready for what will be a tough season ahead.”
Zidane also insists that he is not unduly concerned by the absence of Ronaldo and Bale.
“The absence of Ronaldo and Bale does not worry me, they played in the final stages of Euro 2016 and need a break after a demanding season,” Zidane continued.
“Of course it would be great to have the complete squad here but I’d prefer that Bale and [Toni] Kroos carry on with their preparation in Madrid.
“Madrid are not the favourites as both teams will want to win, but I believe we are ready for the game.”