Soccer

Real Madrid striker Benzema ruled out for at least 3 weeks

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 31: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid looks on during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real CD Espanyol at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on January 31, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 31: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid looks on during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real CD Espanyol at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on January 31, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.

Real Madrid are set to be without Karim Benzema for at least the next three weeks after he suffered a hamstring injury.

Benzema, who has scored 19 goals for Real this season, was taken off at half-time during the 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

It was a result that saw Atletico close the gap on leaders Barcelona to five points, but Real's title aspirations are in tatters - they are nine points adrift of Barca, having played a game more.

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The France international could miss La Liga matches against Levante, Celta Vigo, Las Palmas and Sevilla.

A Real Madrid statement said: "After tests, Karim Benzema has been diagnosed with a muscle injury to his right hamstring."

Madrid are hopeful the striker will be fit for the El Clasico against Barcelona on April 2.