Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema (white) vies with Levante's Colombian midfielder Jefferson Lerma during the Spanish Liga football match Real Madrid vs Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 9, 2017. AFP pic

MADRID: Real Madrid’s lack of striking options is set to come under the spotlight with Karim Benzema expected to be sidelined for at least a month due to a hamstring injury.

The Frenchman hobbled off midway through the first-half as Real were held to a shock 1-1 draw at home to Levante on Saturday.

“Karim Benzema has been diagnosed with an injury in the semimembranosus muscle of the right leg,” Madrid said in a statement without specifying Benzema’s estimated recovery time.

However, Madrid sports dailies Marca and AS reported Benzema will be sidelined for four to six weeks.

Gareth Bale was forced to play as an auxiliary centre-forward after replacing Benzema with Cristiano Ronaldo serving the fourth of a five-game domestic ban for pushing a referee in the Spanish Super Cup.

Real failed to replace Alvaro Morata following his €80 million (US$92.2m) move to Chelsea as they missed out on French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain.

“This is the squad we have and there is nothing we can do but look for solutions within the squad,” added Zidane.

“Cristiano and Benzema weren’t there and there is nothing we can do to change that.”

Benzema looks set to miss Madrid’s opening two Champions League ties at home to APOEL Nicosia on Wednesday and away at Borussia Dortmund, as well as La Liga clashes with Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Alaves and Espanyol.

Madrid will be able to recall Ronaldo in midweek, but could be without a senior recognised striker for next weekend’s tough trip to Sociedad with only 20-year-old Borja Mayoral providing cover. — AFP

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