Karim Benzema secured a point for Real Madrid with his late strike
Photo: SUSANA VERA / REUTERS
Karim Benzema recently admitted that he has only one real friend, this famous striker who walks through life as intertwined as through the opposing defensive lines.
In the derby at Atlético Madrid, the 88th minute was running when he found his own way again with an original left-right combination.
Against five defenders, he played one-two with Casemiro after the self-submission, and through the following degree he had a lot of friends: all Real Madrid supporters who can continue to hope for the championship thanks to his late equalization.
Benzema's goal meant the 1-1 final result in a derby that leaders Atlético controlled for a long time after Luis Suárez's (15th) finish, which was also worth seeing, but missed deciding on his counter-chances.
This leaves a five-point difference in the table.
Atlético still has a game to catch up, but FC Barcelona have already moved up to three points.
, as they say in Spain, there is a league: the championship is open.
Benzema is also likely to have made a few friends at Barça on Sunday afternoon.
So Benzema and Suarez.
33 and 34 years old.
If you like, you can already see a description of the state of the Spanish league, which has recently lost its verve so rapidly in international comparison: the best are still the same.
This is especially true for Real.
Benzema, the midfield made up of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, the defense with Sergio Ramos, Raphaël Varane and Dani Carvajal - these multiple Champions League winners not only form the axis of the team, they are more or less the team.
If everyone is on the pitch, it's still a very good team.
At Atlético, Real left points against a top 4 team for the first time.
But if too many fail or need a break, then they lose at home to Cádiz, Alavés or Levante.
Hence the deficit in the classification.
The bottom line is that Real meanders through the season, just too good to die, not good enough to live according to its own standards.
Or at least according to the demands of the environment.
The otherwise monastic trainer Zinédine Zidane therefore had a tantrum a few weeks ago.
He came from the involuntary hermitage of a Covid quarantine and attacked the media: »I did not deserve this treatment from the press.
Rather, according to Zidane, after the championship last season, a bit of respect (he didn't even mention previous Champions Leagues).
“Tell me in the face if you want to get rid of me!
Not just around the back!
The next generation is a long time coming
Zidane's public - and who knows if not primarily internal - problem are players like Marcos Llorente.
The experienced model athlete was trained at Real, but mostly ignored by Zidane and ultimately declared dispensable.
So little did he trust Llorente that he even let him move to neighbor Atlético - where he is now playing big.
From the supposedly limited clearer, trainer Diego Simeone formed a dynamic offensive all-purpose weapon, which Suárez 'derbytor also prepared wonderfully.
Zidane does not develop players, so the allegation.
He is not entirely new, but in his first term of office he hardly made any difference in view of a top team.
But then the club adopted the strategy of buying young jewels for the next generation, and these shine under Zidane too irregularly (the Brazilian winger Vinícius), hardly (his compatriot and position colleague Rodrygo), never (defender Éder Militão) or at best elsewhere ( Luka Jovic and Martin Ödegaard, who have already been awarded again).
Marco Asensio, who had been stagnating for years, also played a particularly insignificant game in the derby.
In view of an injury misery with already 42 retirements, it is therefore only enough to "still have the championship in mind,
as Benzema said.
The cup, the easiest way to a title, was given away by an end at the third division Alcoyano, the Supercup was also lost.
In the Champions League, after a tough 1-0 win against ten Bergamasken, there will be a second leg against Atalanta next Tuesday.
The appeal of the royals is fading
In the meantime, the injured captain Sergio Ramos, who has still not renewed his contract, which expires at the end of the season, wants to return.
The fronts are now considered hardened, and a farewell after 15 years in royal service is no longer out of the question.
The Madrid sports press is even more interested in the attack, which is notoriously stuttering except for Benzema, where both Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland are more than ever under media coverage: no heroic deed of the two wondrous strikers that would not be extensively recognized.
In the past one would have been pretty sure that the path would have to lead automatically from one to the galactic in the near future.
In times of sheik competition, pandemic and stadium renovations, however, it is not clear whether the money will be enough.
"Surely something has to happen next year,
said Zidane in general at his anger press conference, who, by the way, is not Benzema's only friend.
The striker calls him "my big brother."
The veterans still love their coach, and you saw that again on the pitch in the derby.
Icon: The mirror