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Benzema talks Ronaldo, Bale, Zidane, Ramos, World Cup and Ballon d’Or

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Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

The story of Karim Benzema at Real Madrid is special and a source of inspiration for anyone in need of it. The Frenchman arrived at the club in 2009 and struggled in his initial years at the club. Yet, he fought his way up the ranks and earned himself the right to lift the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world 13 years later.

This season too, Benzema has been at the centre of action for Real Madrid and is now prepared to join the French National Team for the FIFA World Cup. Earlier this week, he spoke to Zack Nani on Twitch where he spoke about the story of his career at Real Madrid amongst other topics. Here are the highlights from his interview.

On his origins at the club: “My arrival in Madrid was complicated. I arrived in Madrid on my own, I didn’t speak the language, but there were 2 options: either you fight, or you go home. I chose the first option.”

On his dream to play for the club: “By signing for Real Madrid I realized my dream.”

On his early adaptation: “I got along very well with the locker room leaders at the time. Guti and Raúl helped me enormously, even Cristiano who spoke a little French helped me adapt.”

On the best Real Madrid team he had played for: “In 2011-2012, it was surely the best team we had in Madrid, it was magnificent, we had everything. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the Champions League.”

On what made the 2011-12 team special: “For me 2011-2012 is really the best team that there was in Madrid. The substitutes scored as much as the starters, everyone played, it was incredible.”

On being part of a forward three with Ronaldo and Bale: “I don’t even know if in training we have already played 3, with Gareth and Cristiano because in training we were constantly on the move.”

On Sergio Ramos’ last-ditch equaliser in the Champions League: “Ramos’ equalizer in the final vs Atletico was crazy. I knew something was going to happen and boom, Ramos’ goal. Extraordinary, and then we knew we were going to to win.”

On Zinedine Zidane: “Zizou doesn’t even need to speak, as soon as he arrives we already know. As soon as he speaks everyone listens to him.”

On working under the great French manager: “I have always had great confidence in Zizou, he gave me this ambition.”

On the 2016-17 season: “What I remember from the 2016-2017 season is a big season, 2 teams, everyone at the same level, everyone is concerned.”

On his favourite UCL title: “My favorite Champions League final was last year, against Liverpool.”

On mentoring the youngsters: “Vinicius, Rodrygo, I gave them advice, I also went through it.”

On the difference between La Liga and UCL: “LaLiga is complicated, there are a lot of matches, it’s long. The Champions League depends on which side you fall on. If you fall like us last year or on the other side and it’s easier.”

On the most recent season: “Last year’s season was the best, individually and collectively. We were nowhere favorites, in La Liga or in the Champions League. Everyone says it’s luck that we’re going out next round etc… it makes it even more beautiful.”

On the team’s comeback against Manchester City: “After Rodrygo’s double against Manchester City, I knew we were going to win. It was over for them.”

On his disallowed goal in the UCL final: “For me, my goal was valid against Liverpool, but I don’t care in the final we brought back the cup.”

On the Ballon d’Or: “My Ballon d’Or is for everyone, I dedicate it to everyone, to all the young people for whom it’s hard for everyone.”

On the upcoming World Cup: “This World Cup, I approach it quietly. I have ambition, I want to take the team as high as possible!”

On which player in history he would have liked to play with: “A player with whom I would have liked to play but whom I have never played, without saying Zizou and R9? Well, apart from Zizou and R9, I don’t know (laughs) maybe Ronaldinho will go.”

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid out-of-favour defender now unlikely to leave the club

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Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid missed out on the signing of Leny Yoro after deciding not to match Manchester United’s offer for the 18-year-old defender.

With the French prodigy now on his way to the Premier League, Los Blancos are assessing their options before deciding whether to sign a new centre-back or not.

As things stand, the reigning champions of Spain and Europe seem to be leaning towards relying on their existing options rather than going into the market.

Jesus Vallejo unlikely to leave

As such, MARCA reports that the likelihood of Jesus Vallejo leaving the club have now significantly reduced.

Indeed, the 27-year-old out-of-favour defender now appears more and more likely to continue at Real Madrid beyond this summer.

Set to stay. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Vallejo returned to the Santiago Bernabeu after finishing his loan stint at Granada during which he hardly played due to injury and fitness woes.

As such, reports suggested that Carlo Ancelotti & co. were not planning on counting on him next season, even though he was handed a new shirt number recently.

But with the Leny Yoro operation collapsing and Real Madrid not keen on recruiting anyone from the market at this point, the Spanish ace is now unlikely to leave the club.

With David Alaba still sidelined, Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao will start the new season as the first-choice centre-back pairing and Vallejo will serve as the backup while Aurelien Tchouameni will also be an option.

Vallejo, for his part, wanted to stay put and see out his contract which expires in 2025. And, as things stand, it appears that the player will get his wish.

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