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.”
Atletico striker hoping Bellingham has an off day during derby: “He is at a great level”
Speaking to DAZN (h/t Mundo Deportivo), Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata admitted that Real Madrid midfield superstar Jude Bellingham is performing at a great level.
Real Madrid take on Atletico in La Liga on Sunday in the Madrid derby at the Civitas Metropolitano and without a doubt, Bellingham will pose a huge threat for the Rojiblancos.
Alvaro Morata hopes Bellingham as a quiet outing
Ahead of the blockbuster encounter on Sunday, Morata, who is Atletico’s main striker, admitted that Bellingham has great quality.
“I saw him last year in a few games, the truth is that he caught my attention. I saw him in his team and in his national team, and talking to people who had played with him, teammates he has, you could already see that he was a great player,” he said.
However, the former Real Madrid striker added that he hoped that the England international has an off day during the derby.
“The truth is that he is at a great level, we can only hope that he doesn’t do well and that we also have very good players to counteract that. We hope he doesn’t have a good day on Sunday,” Morata stated.
Bellingham fit and ready to go
Bellingham has been the in-form player for Real Madrid this season with six goals and an assist in six matches across all competitions.
So, naturally, there were concerns when he did not complete the training sessions on Friday due to stomach issues.