On December 15, Benzema scored twice against Athletic Bilbao in the 13th round of La Liga, helping Real Madrid with two leading teams Atletico and Sociedad, although two more games than Atletico. Not long ago, another double from Benzema defeated Monchengladbach, bringing Real through the group stage of the Champions League. The steady shine and at that moment made Zinedine Zidane full of praise for his students.
“To me, he is the best French striker in history, it was too obvious,” he said at a press conference after winning Bilbao. “His statistics, today’s goals, everything proves that.“
Benzema’s achievement with Real is undeniable. Having played 529 matches in all competitions for 11 years, the striker just turned 33 on December 19 is the foreign player who played the most games for the white team, more than Roberto Carlos, Marcelo and even Cristiano Ronaldo.
With Real, Benzema won 27 titles, including 3 La Liga, 3 Spanish Super Cups, 2 King’s Cups, 4 Champions League, 3 European Super Cups and 4 FIFA Club World Cups. He scored 340 goals in all that time, a performance of 0.49 goals per game.
Benzema is already a controversial figure, and Zidane’s statement is even more feverish in the French press. “Scoring, organizing attack, assisting, dressing room leader, all in one”, Le Parisien wrote about the Algerian-born striker. “Today’s success takes a long time to build. Joining Real in 2009 with two Golden Balls Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, in the generation of Galacticos 2.0, the 81-time French striker has difficulty speaking. It took him a long time to get accepted, especially after Jose Mourinho was present.
But years before Zidane’s announcement, Mourinho used the image of a cat to compare Benzema. Real coach 2010-2013 said: “You cannot go hunting alone. If you cannot go hunting with a dog with only a cat, you have to go hunting with cats. I have Benzema and give you. He came on, but the lack of Gonzalo Higuain was a problem.
Zidane was the first to object to these words and the almost sole defender of Benzema in 11 years as a fellow striker playing for the Royal team. In 2017, when asked to speak from Mourinho, Zidane replied: “I am angry for Karim. For me, he is the best striker in the world, far ahead of people in the same position. The number 9 does not necessarily score. 50, 60 goals Karim will score 25 or 30 goals, but clear the deck for another 40 goals. On December 15, Real coach reiterated this point of view: “Karim is more mature now. He always proves that he is not pure number 9, not just thinking about scoring”.
Comment “Benzema is the best French striker in history” of Zidane has also faced a lot of controversy from both the French and Spanish media. Mundo Deportivo – based in Catalonia – compares Benzema with some outstanding French strikers such as Just Fontaine, Jean Papin, Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona … Benzema is better than the number of collective titles, but of course be inferior to the national team performance due to no longer being promoted to France over the years. In terms of personality, Benzema is not the striker to shape an entire historical period like Cantona or Henry. He is just a “normal” striker.
Despite the controversy, the French striker still stands out thanks to a number of distinct features that not everyone sees. In an era where fans also love to talk about statistics, Benzema is a rare man who goes against the flow. People like Cristiano Ronaldo try to save every step to focus on increasing the number of goals, and Benzema is ready to pass a clear pass to Ronaldo.
After Ronaldo left Real in 2018, the French striker became Real’s owner, two consecutive seasons surpassed the 20 goal mark, an achievement that in 9 years playing with the Portuguese striker, he only did 2 times. . But the constructivist nature has not changed. In that amount of time, he has 15 passes for his teammates to score.
Shining enduring at the highest level like Benzema for 11 years in a row is also not easy. The Galacticos 2.0 that Perez brought in in 2009 mostly retired or left. Kaka, Ronaldo is no longer staying. Gonzalo Higuain no longer plays in Europe. Alvaro Morata once again moved to Juventus. Rumors about recruiting a class striker, from Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Mauro Icardi have never been less, but Benzema still wears No. 9, and kicks more and more effectively thanks to Zidane’s assurance.
Coach Zidane’s belief is the motivation for Benzema to resist prejudice. France has had a trend of calling for coach Deschamps to call Benzema back. But the girl scandal called with Ribery and the extortion of teammate Valbuena’s sex clip basically took all of Benzema’s prestige. Former President Francois Hollande called him “contrary to common morality”. Benzema was even blamed for a failure in the fight against racism in France. Maybe Deschamps dare not call him because he is of Algerian descent.