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



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, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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