MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have been ruled out of this week’s Spanish Super Cup which is to be held in Saudi Arabia.
The club confirmed in two separate statements that the forwards, who both started Saturday’s 3-0 La Liga win over Getafe, will be absent for the money-spinning trip.
Benzema has a hamstring issue, while Bale is suffering from a chest infection. A timescale has not been given for their return.
They join team mate Eden Hazard, who has an ankle problem, as well as Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Valencia forward Rodrigo (both with knee issues) as high-profile absentees for the tournament, which has courted controversy since its reformatting was announced last year.
The Super Cup was a two-legged tie between the league champions and Copa del Rey holders. However, Spanish Football Federation chief Luis Rubiales oversaw a dramatic shake-up in November, striking a three-year deal to play the tournament in Saudi Arabia - a move which has angered human rights groups, as well as local supporters.
Real and Valencia meet in the first semi-final in Jeddah on Wednesday before Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid 24 hours later for a place in Sunday’s final. It is the latest sports event to be held in the Kingdom, which also hosted the Italian Super Cup in December.
Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Christian Radnedge
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