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Chelsea defender hails Real Madrid superstar as the ‘best in the world’ ahead of UCL clash



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Karim Benzema was the hero at Stamford Bridge when Real Madrid and Chelsea met last season in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. The French striker scored a stellar hat-trick on the night, putting the English side 3-1 down on aggregate.

The London-based side mounted a stunning comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg, going 3-0 up on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.

However, it was Benzema again who delivered the final blow after Rodrygo’s late equaliser to send Chelsea crashing out.

The French striker has enjoyed special numbers against the Blues in recent years and will be eyeing another great night on Wednesday when the two teams face off in Madrid.

Ahead of the clash, Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly commented on Benzema’s ability to make a difference and called him the best in the business as revealed by BBC Sport.

“He’s the best striker in the world… I hope he continues to score, but not on Wednesday.”

The Senegalese centre-back is expected to start in defence for Frank Lampard’s side midweek and will be faced with the ultimate challenge of controlling Benzema. Given that he only joined Chelsea in the summer, it will be his first game with the team against Real Madrid.

Benzema has roared back into form in recent weeks after a seemingly poor start to the season. His hat-trick against Real Valladolid in La Liga was followed by another hat-trick against Barcelona in the semifinal of the Copa Del Rey as he led his side to a spot in the finals.

The veteran was substituted early against Villarreal on Saturday, presumably with the game in Chelsea at the back of Carlo Ancelotti’s mind. Needless to say, a lot will be riding on the striker’s back come Wednesday.

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Real Madrid News

Harry Kane ‘very close’ to completing Real Madrid move, only final details remain – report



Jude Bellingham’s move to Real Madrid was finally closed earlier today as officially confirmed by Borussia Dortmund on their website. Yet, the offices at Santiago Bernabeu have not even taken a break to celebrate their success.

According to reports from Alfredo Pedullà, Los Blancos are now completely focused on the acquisition of Harry Kane. The English striker’s arrival is very close to approaching closure and only a few details remain to be sorted.

The Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur representatives reportedly held a meeting today over the striker’s transfer. The agenda was to agree on a number for the transfer fee.

The Premier League side began the proceedings with an expectation of €100 to €110 million in exchange for Kane. However, the Merengues suggested a lower point at €80 to €90 million, albeit with the option to include bonuses.

There is not much separating the two parties at the moment, and the minor gap will be bridged in the coming days. Overall, the meeting ended with a broad understanding between the two clubs.

Carlo Ancelotti sees the English striker as the centre-piece of his attack for next season given the recent departure of Karim Benzema. After all, Kane has been one of football’s most consistent goalscorers over the past decade.

Yet, Los Blancos cannot afford to let their guard down with one signing and will need to rope in at least two more names in attack to serve as backup options. The exits of Mariano Diaz, Marco Asensio, and Eden Hazard leave them with no squad depth, after all.

Kane has scored 30, 17, and 23 goals in his last three seasons in the Premier League and is the epitome of consistency. Further, he had three assists in his most recent league season and created 14 big chances.

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