Karim Benzema’s consistent breathtaking performances have attracted a lot of (overdue) recognition in recent weeks.
The Frenchman has been, almost singlehandedly, carrying Real Madrid’s attack through thick and thin, and pundits from across the world have come out to call him the best player in the world.
Real Madrid target Aurelien Tchouameni was asked to give his thoughts on Benzema’s performance, and the youngster did not hold back.
The Ligue 1 midfielder said the quality he admired the most was his longevity, and also referred to another Real Madrid player as an example.
“Benzema? What strikes me in these kinds of players is their longevity at the highest level! It’s not a given for everyone to perform so much at that age, like Benzema or Modric does, still delivering great performances in the CL,” he said (h/t TheMadridZone).
The defensive midfielder has been immense for AS Monaco this season and is a key part of the team’s top four pursuit. He has started 27 league games for the French side, scoring one goal and providing one assist.
Real Madrid see the youngster as a long-term replacement for Casemiro, who is now in the twilight of his career. They are ahead of PSG and Chelsea in the pursuit for the 22-year-old and are closer than ever before.
Monaco value their player at upwards of €50 million and will not make his transfer easy at any cost. However, his contract with the French club only runs until 2024, putting pressure on the club to accept lower offers.
Key Real Madrid defender still not 100% fit ahead of Club World Cup semi-final – report
Carlo Ancelotti heads into the FIFA Club World Cup in a pressure cooker situation. The pressure on the manager’s shoulders is immense, for his job could be on the line after Real Madrid’s poor run of form.
The injury situation does not favour the Italian tactician either. Lucas Vazquez, Ferland Mendy, Karim Benzema, Eder Militao and even Thibaut Courtois are out of the semi-final against Al Ahly, leaving him very few options to play with.
According to reports from Jorge C Picon, David Alaba too is not completely fit yet. The Austrian International was given the medical all-clear and entered the squad for Real Madrid’s game against Mallorca, yet started on the bench as he was not at 100%, and that remains the case ahead of tonight’s clash.
The report, however, adds that his mere inclusion in the squad comes as a breather for Ancelotti. Alaba is highly valued by the technical staff, not only for his reading of the game on the field but also for his leadership.
The defender has already missed seven games for Los Blancos since sustaining a muscular injury against Villarreal at La Ceramica. He did indeed come off the bench for under half an hour against Mallorca, but will likely not be risked to start on Thursday.
In his absence, Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger are expected to take centre stage in defence in Morocco. Eduardo Camavinga, meanwhile, could start as left-back again.
Alaba has played 17 games for Los Blancos this season and was one of the players with the most minutes until his injury. In his league campaign so far, he has scored one goal and provided three assists while also averaging a key pass every ninety minutes.
It remains to be seen if the Austrian recovers completely in time for the Club World Cup final should the European Champions make it. As it stands, using a cautious approach is in Real Madrid’s best interest.