Former Brazil international Rivaldo opines that Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is still the best French player, despite not featuring for France in their attempt to win the Euro 2016 on home soil this year.
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Greizmann has made tremendous improvement in the last two-three seasons. He is tipped to be the future of French football, and he showed this as he was clearly the star man for the team at the Euro 2016 tournament, after an impressive showing in the Spanish La Liga and Champions League.
“Antonie Griezmann has obviously has a great season for both club and country. However, I would say that Karim Benzema is still the No 1 French footballer. Benzema has shown by his consistency at the highest level that he is one of the best strikers in the world,” Rivaldo told L’Equipe.
Rivaldo claimed the pressure the Madrid man faces at the club is huge and he is impressed by the way he has handled it over the years. He said the French team felt his absence despite reaching the finals of the tournament. France lost 1-0 in the extra time to Portugal in a keenly-contested game. Rivaldo added that “the final could have turned out happier for them,” had Benzema be allowed to play despite a prevailing scandal.
Benzema would have competition when he returns to Real Madrid for the season as the club refused to sell Alvaro Morata after getting him from Juventus by activating their buy-back clause.
Since joining the Santiago Bernabeu from French outfit Lyon in 2009, Benzema has been the point-man for Madrid – contesting with Gonzalo Higuain at some point. He partnered with others through the years but he remained the lead. He is one of the most influential players and his record shows 162 goals in 317 games. In the past two seasons, he has partnered well with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. The return of prodigal son Morata will definitely bring competition upfront.
Some players are brilliant on the field, but there might be issues that prevent them from being part of the big league game.
Karim Benzema is one such name that has been involved in certain controversies, but his country has definitely felt his absence from the Euro 2016. After the French Football Federation did not include his name in the French team for the tournament, many have been wondering whether his presence would have made sure that the country lifted the trophy if he had been part of the final team. Being charged with alleged blackmail of a compatriot over a sex tape had him banned from playing the tournament this year.
The national team definitely needed some more expertise which would have helped them prevent the Portugal team from lifting the trophy. However, the pending proceedings in the court case came at a time that prevented this player from clearing his name and getting back on the national squad in time for the tournament.
This player has a reputation, being a player from Real Madrid who would have been the missing link to seal the victory that the country was so close to getting on home ground. Juventus is looking at including this player in their squad this year. There are replacements being looked at for Alvaro Morata and Benzema is one of the possibilities, though Alexis from Barcelona is the first consideration. Madrid and Juve have had a good relationship going on for some time. For that reason Benzema might be on for the transfer. It would definitely help to make things look up for the player who was unable to play for France. Fans are definitely looking forward to seeing him play again this season. It would definitely help to move things along and help him to get over the stigma that is currently plaguing his career.
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has stated that it is more difficult to defend against Karim Benzema than against Luis Suarez.
The former Manchester United had faced Benzema when he was playing for Real Madrid in the Champions League and had played against Suarez when he was at Liverpool.
He said that Karim Benzema is a different player and has good movement off the ball. He is quick with both the left and right foot making it difficult to anticipate his movement. He said that it was harder to play against Benzema than Suarez because he is so swift with his movement.
According to Rio Ferdinand, Benzema can take you out of position quickly and free up space for his teammate. He said that his movement is so good that you only discover that you have been drawn out of position at the last minute.
This season Suarez has been more proficient in front of goals than Benzema in the Liga. He has managed to score 59 goals in 53 appearances while the Frenchman has managed 28 goals in 36 appearances for Real Madrid.
There is news that Karim Benzema might be moving to Manchester United in the summer. The Red Devils who have a new manager in Jose Mourinho will be looking for players that will improve their attacking options. But it is difficult to believe that Zidane will be allowing a player of his caliber to leave in the summer.
There is also news that Rio Ferdinand might be given a coaching role at Manchester United. Jose Mourinho has been keen to build his backroom staff and has considered the former Manchester United defender as a potential coach. The Portuguese manager apparently does not want to distort the United culture and is keen to keep as many former players as possible in the coaching staff.
The French centre forward is the latest Real Madrid star that is doubtful for the clash against Manchester City in the crucial semi final game on Tuesday.
The 28-year old striker limped out of their 3-2 win over Rayo Vallecano at the weekend in a key La Liga game. This leaves the head coach, Zinedine Zidane, with less options as the Spanish giant hope to clinch their 11th European title.
Real Madrid have not had the best of preparations in the run-up to the game, as the club hopes to win their first title under Zinedine Zidane. The La Liga seems a very close competition especially as defending champions, Barcelona, picked up form again after a temporary slip. Atletico Madrid are also not slacking.
Real Madrid coach on Benzema said:
“We’ll evaluate [Benzema], but he didn’t take a blow.
“I thought he did, but for now we’ll go back to Valdebebas and see what he has. I hope it’s nothing and that he can play on Tuesday, but we don’t know yet."
Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo is back in training after his injury scare and coach od City, Manuel Pellegrini, is expecting the player to feature against his side on Tuesday. He said:
"He's a big player who makes the difference for Real Madrid, so it's very important to stop him.
Gareth Bale on the other hand who is keen on his return to England said:
"The most important thing is to try and get an away goal, and then keep a clean sheet," he said.
"Those are the two important things for us for being in the game because at the Bernabeu we're very strong at home and we fancy our chances.
"For us it's always a psychological advantage [to play at home]. We need to get a positive result at the Etihad and then being in front of our home fans at the Bernabeu knowing exactly what we need to do is alway a great help for us."
The French national team manager, Didier Deschamps has evaded questions about Karim Benzema.
Many people believed that with the quality of players in the attacking department for France, Benzema is not required in the France team.
When asked about Karim Benzema’s importance for the team, Didier Deschamps evaded the questions and told the media that they need to focus on players that are currently present in the group and not those who are absent.
Indeed, with players such as Olivier Giroud, Dimitri Payet, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Kingsley Coman, Antoine Griezmann and Anthony Martial available for France, the absence of Karim Benzema is not really felt in the national team.
The Real Madrid man is currently suspended from the national team amidst of accusations of conspiracy. He is being investigated as part of an alleged attempt to blackmail his teammate Valbuena.
His case will be heard on April 15th, and then a decision will be made on whether Karim Benzema should return to the French national side or not.
Karim Benzema is currently preparing himself for the Clasico game against Barcelona this weekend. He seems to be in good form with a video release of him scoring a spectacular goal on Real Madrid’s training ground.
His first game for the French national team came in 2007when he participated in a match against Austria where he scored the only goal of the game. He will then go on to make more than 80 appearances for France and scored 27 goals along the way.
He was part of the team that participated at Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and 2014 World Cup.
Karim Benzema will definitely await his case hearing with impatience to find out whether he will represent his country again and add to this tally of 80 appearances for Les Bleus.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has given his strong support to the return of star striker Karim Benzema to the French national team.
The Real Madrid striker was recently suspended due to off the field issues. He faces an uncertain future as far as the national team goes. The French national team have been very strict on discipline over the last few years. After suffering immensely in back-to-back major tournaments, Didier Deschamps has taken this step in order to ensure that the players remain professional at the very top level. This, however, was not the case with Benzema while on international duty.
It was recently revealed that he played a role in blackmailing his international teammate Mathieu Valbuena. The 28-year-old striker is not the last French talent to have been barred from appearing for the national team. However, his absence will have a detrimental consequence on the results according to Zidane. Benzema has consistently maintained his innocence in the matter. He continues to deliver for the Spanish outfit. The former Lyon striker has turned out into one of the best centre forwards and he has effectively replaced Thierry Henry in the French national team. Doing well on the upcoming Euro 2016 is of great importance to France and Zidane has called for Benzema to be included in the squad once again.
"To respond clearly, no, France can't allow themselves to do without a player like Benzema. When you see his stats, what he does on the pitch, you don't want to do without a player like that when you have the possibility of having him in the team.With Madrid it would be difficult for me to do without a player like Karim.In addition to the goals he scores, he's just impressive at every level because he's able to link up with and play with everyone. Not everyone can do that," said Zidane.
Arsene Wenger is being very active in this summer transfer window as the French manager has already signed a number of players including: PetrCech, Joel Campbell and ChubaAkpom but this is far from over for Arsenal as the Premier League club is still targeting a few more players.
Signing PetrCech is a huge accomplishment as Arsenal has secured the services of a veteran player who is thirsty on getting back into the pitch and snatching a regular spot at the Emirates Stadium and this is what he struggled to do during his last few years with Chelsea.
PetrCech has already demonstrated that even at his 33 years of age, he still has what it takes to compete against the best players in the world and this is why Arsenal opted to sign him but there is someone else who has entered the radar of Arsene Wenger and it’s Real Madrid’s KarimBenzema.
It’s believed that the new manager of Real Madrid, Rafael Benitez has plans of putting C.Ronaldo into a more central attacking figure in the Spanish club and Benzema might have to be offloaded in order for this to happen.
KarimBenzema might not be the flashiest player in the world of football but the French attacker still manages to stand out despite being in a team with is filled with world class players. In the previous season of La Liga, Benzema was the 9th highest goal-scorer as he found the back of the net on 15 occasions and provided his teammates with 10 assists.
If Benzema is indeed available to be signed by any club during the summer transfer window, Arsenall will face competition as there are other clubs that would be interested in signing Benzema and one of these teams is Manchester United.
Robin van Persie is believed to be on the verge of leaving Manchester United and the Premier League club will have to search around the transfer market for a new striker who can play alongside Wayne Rooney.
Karim Benzema says that it was a disastrous result for Real Madrid in the latest Madrid derby. After having such a fantastic record over Atletico Madrid for several decades, Madrid have lost to Diego Simeone’s team on a number of occasions in the last two years.
The 4-0 thrashing at the Vicente Calderon, though, will rank as one of the most embarrassing for the club in its illustrious history.
Benzema was part of the team that suffered this defeat, while the league’s top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo also came back to start his first match since the suspension.
Despite the attacking trio having cost more than £ 200 million, they were unable to register more than a single shot on target. Benzema says that he is left disappointed, just as all the Madrid players, about the result, but he is taking the criticism that the club are receiving from the media with pinch of salt. Madrid still continue to hold the lead in the la Liga but their advantage has been cut to just one point. Barcelona have been on an imperious run of form since the 1-0 defeat against Real Sociedad, while Atletico also cannot be ruled out of the race since they are only four points behind Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
"I will take criticism seriously from those who have played the game at the highest level. But if it comes from someone who has never played the game then I don't take it seriously.I'm not an actor. I'm not in the game to look good for the cameras. There are others who do that in life but I like to laugh and I get along with everyone.When people see me on the street - whether they are old, young, women or children - everyone shows me affection,” said Benzema.
Real Madrid have extended their winning run to 18 matches on the bounce.
Even though the goal scoring exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo have secured most of the headlines this campaign, Karim Benzema has also been equally fantastic. The French forward’s form has been imperious and has coincided with Madrid’s great run. After being heavily criticised for his lack of form in the early part of the campaign, Benzema has either assisted scored a goal in each of the last 18 games (apart from the 3-0 win over Celta de Vigo). The run started with the 5-1 win over FC Basel and it recently concluded with the match against Celta de Vigo.
Prior to this run, Benzema had scored only one goal in six appearances for the Spanish club. The recent run of form has taken his tally to 13 goals, which puts him alongside the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi. Ronaldo continues to be way ahead in front with 23 for the season. Benzema has also seen on loan striker Javier Hernandez struggle for first-team opportunities. The Mexican came from Manchester United on a season-long loan with a view of staying at the Santiago Bernabeu on a permanent basis. Hernandez has started in only one match due to Benzema’s form.
“Karim’s form is a reflection of the team`s form, good on every level.Karim is being boosted by the team, but the team is also being boosted by Karim, not only because of his goals but also because of his all around performance," said Ancelotti. Apart from scoring, Benzema has also been very crucial in starting the defence. His work rate has often helped Madrid win the ball high up the pitch, which in turn helps them counter-attack with impressive pace from the likes of Gareth Bale and Ronaldo.
The Sunderland boss, Gus Poyet, is extremely saddened by the fact that Phil Bardsley left the club this summer.
Bardsley had had altercations with Sunderland hierarchy at the start of the 2013-14 Season and he was sidelined by the club because of that, but, Poyet, after taking charge, brought him back in and the defender responded fantastically well.
His solidity in the deep helped Sunderland pull off some good results in the last couple of months of the season and they ended up escaping demotion to the second tier.
Not only that, Bardsley was a big contributor in the Black Cats’ campaign in the league Cup as well.
So, quite obviously, Sunderland wanted him to sign the extension during the summer, but, the 29-year old refused and preferred to go to Stoke City instead.
That hurt Poyet and rightly so. He had given a new lifeline to the player and thus, he must have expected loyalty from him. But, it wasn’t to be.
This Tuesday, Bardsley will be representing Stoke against Sunderland in a Cup game.
In the press conference ahead of that match, when Poyet was asked if it’s going to be hurtful to see Bardsley featuring for the opposition side, he said, “Yes of course, but, in professional soccer, these things are common.”
“In Bardsley’s case, yes, there is some disappointment. He was fantastic last season coming into the team, but, then, he decided to move away. It happens at times.”
In their first Cup game this season, the Black Cats had beaten Birmingham City by 3-0 at St. Andrews. That match was played on 27th of last month.
Sunderland has not won any game in the Premier League though this season. They have played three draws, but, no win.