Zidane hails ‘special’ Real Madrid marksman Benzema

Robin Bairner
Zidane hails ‘special’ Real Madrid marksman Benzema

Karim Benzema has been described as a “special player” by Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane ahead of Sunday’s derby against Atletico Madrid.

The derby is set to play a major role in the title race, with the pressure on Real Madrid to get maximum points in order to keep their title aspirations alive.

There is, however, also the issue of the Frenchman’s long-term future at the club, with Benzema having hinted at the possibility of departing in the summer back to Lyon.

Zidane has seemed to hint, however, that he continues to appreciate the 33-year-old forward and is keen for him to remain.

“He is a special player,” Zidane said. “He is special because of what he does on the field. For me as a coach, Benzema is a joy of a footballer. When he arrived here, there was a lot of talk about him and 10 years later you can see what player he is and all that has improved.”

Zidane hopes Benzema is fit to play a key role in the match after missing out lately due to injury.

“If there is a doubt, I don’t like it,” the coach continued. “We are not going to risk Benzema. Anyone who plays will be at 100%.”

Karim Benzema’s Real Madrid scoring record

SEASONAPPEARANCSGOALS
2009/10339
2010/114826
2011/125232
2012/135020
2013/145224
2014/154622
2015/163628
2016/174819
2017/184712
2018/195330
2019/204827
2020/212817

Benzema, who joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 from Lyon, has often been pushed into the shade at the Bernabeu by the contribution of Cristiano Ronaldo when Los Blancos were at their peak.

However, he will be remembered as an all-time great of the club. Indeed, only four players in the history of Los Blancos have scored more than Benzema: Santillana, Alfredo Di Stefano, Raul and Ronaldo.

Benzema’s contract with Real Madrid ends in the summer of 2022, though he has shown by scoring 12 goals in 21 La Liga fixtures this term that he remains a force to be reckoned with in Zidane’s ranks.