Ahead of the first El Clasico of the 2022/23 season, Real Madrid legend and Castilla manager Raul Gonzalez has heaped praise on Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski.
Real Madrid and Barcelona lock horns against each other later this week at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the top spot in the La Liga table on the line.
The game will also see two of the most prolific strikers in Europe come face to face as Real Madrid captain Benzema locks horns with Barcelona ace Lewandowski.
While Benzema won the Pichichi Award for most goals scored in La Liga last season, Lewandowski has emerged as the early favourite for the trophy in the ongoing campaign.
And ahead of their meeting on Sunday, Raul has stated that the two are the best strikers in the game currently, along with Manchester City superstar and Real Madrid target Erling Haaland.
“They are possibly the best strikers, along with Haaland. They are the ones who have the most scoring ability and contribute the most to their teams,” Raul said (h/t SPORT).
Raul further hailed Lewandowski, claiming that he was a great signing for La Liga as a whole. However, he added that he hopes Benzema comes out on top in the battle between the two on Sunday at the Bernabeu.
“Lewandowski is a great signing for La Liga, he is showing his quality. But I hope that the battle of scorers on Sunday will be won by Benzema,” he added.
Talking about the forms of both teams heading into the Clasico, Raul said that Barcelona’s injuries were a cause for concern in defence, although he insisted that they were doing a good job with the players they have.
As for the importance of the game, he said: “I see it as a very exciting game, as always . They both arrive with the same points. Too early, because it’s in October. Whoever wins will be able to come out stronger mentally.
“It will be a very demanding game and Real Madrid, playing at home and being with their people, they could be the favourites,” Raul said.
“All the players are good, they are international. I think they have top squads with high-quality players. We are all looking forward to Sunday, but first there is the Champions League , which are two important games that they have before,” he added.
On his favourite El Clasico memory, Raul said: “I have been lucky enough to play many and score goals. Possibly I would keep the first of my career, with Valdano in 94. We won 5-0 after months before It was the other way around.
“On a personal level, I’ve had good performances , also average or bad. They are always special games that a player is always looking forward to.”
Talking about the iconic image of the silencing gesture he made to the Camp Nou crowd after scoring, Raul said: “These are things that happened at that time. Many Madridistas are very happy with that image. I’m happy but within codes of respect that have always been there.”
Opening up on his relationship with Barcelona and their players in the past, the Castilla manager stated:
“The relationship I have always had with Barcelona players and with the club has been very good. They are part of what football is, of what that moment of tension is and of wanting to do things well. It is an image that will remain for history.”
On his desire to coach Real Madrid in a fixture like El Clasico, he added: “I would like to but now I am very happy where I am, working with my boys.
“I am happy and I am going to enjoy it as a fan, with the desire that we get those three points that will not define anything but will give more confidence and morale to the winner.”
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.