Rodriguez was injured while on duty for Colombia

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez has called for fewer meaningless international games during the season after losing James Rodriguez and Danilo to injury whilst they were on international duty in the past week.

Both players are expected to be sidelined for up to a month, missing the start of Real’s Champions League campaign and potentially the Madrid derby away to Atletico on October 4.

Rodriguez suffered a thigh tear in Colombia’s 1-1 draw with Peru, whilst Danilo has been sidelined by a heel injury picked up Brazi’s 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica.

“The players are going to play matches that many times are insignificant, not just friendlies as in this case, but also some official matches where they are winning 7-0 or 8-0,” he said on Friday.

“I don’t make the rules, but maybe they could have groups where the winners progress to play against the best teams and that way the games mean more and are a better spectacle for the fans.

“We know that international games carry with them these problems and with so many internationals in the squad the risk is greater.

“We have lost two players for a number of games and now we need to get the best out of the excellent squad we have so that their absence isn’t noticed.”

Madrid are in action away to Espanyol on Saturday for the first time since they failed to secure the signing of Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea in farcical circumstances on transfer deadline day.

Both clubs have tried to defend their actions after the paperwork to complete the deal wasn’t submitted to the Spanish league in time.

De Gea signed a new four-year deal with United on Friday to also rule out the possibility of him joining Madrid for free next summer.

And Benitez insisted that Costa Rica international Keylor Navas has his full confidence despite the fact he had been included in the deal that would have seen him join United as part of the agreement.

“De Gea is a Manchester United player and I have shown my satisfaction with my goalkeepers,” added Benitez.

“Keylor knows the confidence I have in him and that is the important thing.” – Agence France-Presse

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