This Monday evening in Granada, Real Madrid could take another step towards the title. The Merengues can count on Karim Benzema (minor injury to the thigh on Friday in the 2-0 victory against Alavés), author of a very big season. At 32, the native of Bron (Rhône), who has just been voted best player in June in La Liga, is at the top of his game. Decryption.
Since Ronaldo's departure from Juventus in 2018, Benzema has changed status and improved his stats. This season, he is involved in almost 40% of his team's goals. "When I was at the training center in Lyon, I saw him training with the pros and at 18-19 years old, he was already a killer in front of the goal, remembers Maxime Gonalons, his former teammate, whom he will face this Monday with Granada. It is certain that the departure of Cristiano gave him even more importance. He is striker # 1, and today there is no debate. He plays on the collective, even if the attacker's main concern is to score goals. He became more mature in his game with age and, inevitably, he became even better. Like wine, it improves. "
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“It seems that Karim Benzema is more responsible for scoring, even if he is not in the same register as an Icardi or a Cavani. He has a much wider palette than them, Karim is an all-options player, says Omar Da Fonseca, BeIN Sport's number one consultant for Spanish football. He's a gazelle, you get the impression he's playing in a tuxedo. For me, it made football grow. Look at his heel for Casemiro. Many attackers would have chosen to turn around and shoot. "
"A hard worker with a steel mind"
"Karim is better every year because he takes care of him in his preparation," recently emphasized Zinedine Zidane about the ex-Lyonnais, who celebrated this week the 11th anniversary of his signing at Real Madrid.
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Benzema was able to withstand competition to establish itself for more than a decade in the attack of the biggest club on the planet. "People are realizing what he is doing at Real Madrid, I have the impression that this was not the case two or three years ago," said Maxime Gonalons. You just have to look at his stats, his track record ... When you're eleven years in such a club, it's complicated to say anything other than: it's incredible . Over time, it has evolved and grown. He is a hard worker with a steel mind. When you are constantly criticized and show that you are one of the best, there is nothing more to say. "
“Regularity in performance is the hardest part of high-level football, insists Omar Da Fonseca. This year is its best because it has an impact on the group. At 32, he is at the peak of his career. Madrid leaders have given him the keys. His relationship with Zidane is important. When you are in fusion with your coach, you feel in a well-being ... "
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VIDEO. Zidane: "Benzema closes some mouths"
Over the years, Benzema has opened up and has become a leader who, when he speaks, is listened to. With the Blues, his counter stopped at 27 goals for 81 selections on October 8, 2015. Extra-sports affairs, including the Valbuena sextape which could bring him a trial, have blurred his image in France.
This mixed record in the French team is a downside compared to that, exceptional, at Real Madrid. Are his high club performances enough to make him the best striker in the history of French football? "Karim is at the top, few French have made eleven years in one, if not the most prestigious club in the world, answers Maxime Gonalons. He is at the top, like Thierry Henry, and his career is not over. "
"I put him in front of Trezeguet, Papin, Rocheteau ... Benzema can do everything, judge Omar Da Fonseca. He can play in tight spaces, back to goal, make a two, dribble ... I have also rarely seen him scoring goals. For me, it is level with Van Basten and Lewandowski. "
Karim Benzema in 3 figures
18. The number of goals scored by Benzema this season in La Liga, 23 in total (4 in the Champions League, 1 in the Spanish Cup). In his sixteen-year career, he has already crossed the 20 goal mark ten times in one season.
64. The number of goals he has scored in the Champions League. He is the 4th best scorer in the history of the competition.
245. The number of goals scored with Real Madrid. He is the 5th goal scorer in club history.