Benzema to miss Madrid clash

Holders Real Madrid are without France striker Karim Benzema for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Italian champions Juventus.

Benzema, 27, has scored 22 goals for the Spanish club this season, but will not play in Turin after failing to recover from a knee injury.

Gareth Bale is set to start after returning as a substitute in Saturday’s win at Sevilla following a calf injury.

Juve pair Andrea Pirlo and Giorgio Chiellini are expected to start.

The veteran Italy internationals were both dropped to the bench as the Bianconeri won 1-0 at Sampdoria to clinch their fourth successive Serie A title.

Pirlo, 35, is set to renew acquaintances with Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, who managed the midfielder during a successful eight-year spell at AC Milan.

The pair helped the Rossoneri win a Serie A title, two Champions Leagues and the Club World Cup between 2001 and 2009, before Ancelotti left the San Siro to take over at Chelsea.

“He’s like a father to me,” said Pirlo.

“We worked together for many years, he gave me my chance in top-level football and changed my position.


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