Key absences for French boss ahead of derby

With more injuries than usual, Zinedine Zidane's job is both easier and simultaneously a lot harder in terms of his team selection, rotation policy, and how he approaches such an important game.

The midfield is almost certain to be made up of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Isco, but the trio up front is still up in the air, mainly depending on Karim Benzema's fitness.

"The system and players can be different, but the style of play will be the same," Zidane promised in his pre-match press conference on Friday. "We arrive at the Calderon in good condition, having reincorporated a few key players to the squad.

"There can always be problems, but we are focused on the important match at hand and are ready."

The latest surrounding Benzema's recovery was a key talking point, as his presence in the starting XI or off the bench could signal Zidane's approach and tip his hand.

"Benzema has made the squad, which means he can play as a starter," Zidane said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow."

The French striker's presence is so important precisely because of Alvaro Morata's injury, though the coach didn't seek to fuel the fires and blame the Spanish national team for playing him against England after already having received a knock.

"I'm not going to blame anyone," Zidane stated, referring to the Spanish federation, who insisted Morata's knock came during the match at Wembley and not before. "We're upset at Alvaro's [Morata] injury but these things happen."

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