Karim Benzema has been Real Madrid’s best player by a mile over the past few years. Despite the ageing core and rapidly changing environment in the team, the Frenchman has delivered world-class performances week in and week out.
Unsurprisingly, Los Blancos’ slump in form coincides with Benzema’s injury. Though initially thought of as a small niggle, the French international’s recovery has not progressed well. This has put his participation in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 into doubt.
Ahead of their clash against the men in white, PSG’s Presnel Kimpembe has had only praise for Benzema and his role at Real Madrid. Speaking about playing against the striker, Kimpembe confessed that it was a difficult task (h/t UEFA).
“For me it’s difficult to defend on Benzema because he’s very intelligent in his movements, with his touches, he always avoids duels. He is a player who anticipates what is going to happen.”
He then revealed the protocol one must follow to successfully defend against Benzema and explained why it was difficult.
“To defend players like him, you have to anticipate or be on top of him as soon as he touches the ball. He has a very good vision of the game and he also knows his opponents well. He is a world-class striker, so it will not be easy to stop him.”
Benzema has travelled with Real Madrid to Paris. He feels he is ready and his body is well. The final decision will lie with Carlo Ancelotti, who well knows the risks of hurrying the player from his injury.
Ancelotti ‘liked’ €70 million Portuguese full-back offered to Real Madrid in January
Joao Cancelo has, for a long time, been considered one of the best full-backs in the world of football. What makes the Portuguese international special is not just his ability to contribute flawlessly at both ends of the field but also the fact that he can recreate his magic on both flanks.
For a player of such quality to depart Manchester City unsurprisingly broke the internet. Cancelo signed for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan in January with a whopping €70 million purchase clause included in the paperwork.
According to reports from AS, the player preferred a move to Spain. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were offered Cancelo’s services, and it was only after both La Liga giants rejected it that Bayern Munich got the chance to sign him.
For the Catalans, the player’s salary was the hurdle preventing his arrival. In Real Madrid’s case, however, it was the board’s reluctance to change the squad midway through the season.
For a long time now, Real Madrid have maintained a low profile in winter transfer windows. Carlo Ancelotti liked the full-back’s profile and saw him as a good fit, but the management would not hear of it.
Real Madrid have had a torrid time at the full-back position in recent weeks, indicating that the squad was in urgent need of new signings.
For almost a month, Ancelotti has been without a right-back after both Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal suffered injuries. Just as the latter recovered, Ferland Mendy hobbled off the field and could miss six weeks of action.
Cancelo’s signing would have thus been the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone. Nevertheless, the management have their faith in the young Vinicius Tobias and it remains to be seen if their gamble pays off.