Karim Benzema has hit back at his critics after his match-winning performance in the Champions League against Viktoria Plzen
The Frenchman scored a double as Los Blancos romped to a 5-0 win in the Czech Republic on Wednesday night, and he insists that he can still have a big impact on the team. Benzema scored both his goals in the first half, and in doing so became only the seventh player in the club’s history to go past 200 goals, joining an elite list of names that includes the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano and Raul.
Madrid have gone through a difficult start to the 2018-19 campaign, falling seven points behind in the Liga title race to bitter rivals Barcelona and struggling to find the back of the net on a regular basis, which ultimately cost Julen Lopetegui his job as manager. Santiago Solari was then appointed on an interim basis, and he has overseen a quick transformation in fortunes as the three-time defending European champions have won their last three games in all competitions.
Benzema has been a key proponent in that revival, but the 30-year-old feels that he is judged unfairly by certain portions of the media, which he expressed in an interview after his latest European showing. “When I go out on the field I don’t just want to score goals,” the veteran striker said. “I want to give assists, play, score goals… what a striker does.
It’s always the same but I play football to make history and sometimes people don’t understand what I do on the pitch. But it doesn’t bother me anymore because I’m 30 years old, I have children and I don’t think about these things.”
Thread on the unfair criticism of Karim Benzema: pic.twitter.com/Zf1ubuyycU
— Belkace (@belkace_rma) November 8, 2018
Benzema was also full of praise for Solari for his immediate impact on the team, and endorsed him to continue in his role as head coach until at least the end of the season. “Sure, why not, we’re fine with him,” he continued. “I don’t see a coach coming for one or two months, so for me, Solari has to stay until the end of the season at least. He is a great coach, we now have more confidence and we are going to compete.”
Next up for Los Blancos is a trip to Celta Vigo on Sunday in La Liga, and a victory could see Solari’s men move into the top five and close the gap on leaders Barcelona.
There is no doubt that Benzema has had his fair share of critics ever since moving from Lyon to Madrid, but he has been a wonderful servant and one of the major reasons that Ronaldo was so successful during his time in the Spanish capital. And regaining his goal-scoring touch is only going to help Madrid in their quest to improve on their bad start and catch up with the La Liga leaders, and go deep in the other competitions.