Elected best French player of the year, in 2021, ahead of Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema spoke at length to France Football. Top scorer in La Liga and author of a resounding return with the France team, the Real Madrid and Blues striker spoke about his vision of football, he who currently considers himself at the top of his game. Extracts.
Awarded the title of best French player of the year for the fourth time in his career by France Soccer, Karim Benzema never ceases to shine, despite his 34 springs. Current top scorer in the Spanish league with 17 goals, the Merengues striker, well supported by Vinicius Jr, lights up La Liga every weekend. An equally consistent performance on the European scene where KB9 can congratulate themselves on scoring five goals and an assist at the end of the group stages of the Champions League. And what about his return to the France team. Alongside Kylian Mbappé, the tricolor international (94 caps, 36 goals) split a very good Euro on a personal level before becoming the centerpiece of the coronation of the Blues during the last Nations League.
Dazzling performances which therefore logically opened the doors to this honorary trophy as the number one French player over the past calendar year. A distinction that KB9 has also welcomed with humility: these are just words. I don’t like to say things like that. It can be taken one way or another. My motivation is to do better every year. And there what I’m doing is better, in terms of statistics, goals, assists, progress, said the Lyonnais for France Soccer.
“I can be the salt, the pepper or the chilli!”
Honored despite everything with this award, the Merengue then delivered, unequivocally, on his way of seeing football which explains, according to him, his current success: “When I play, I try to respect football. Because I love him. For example, I can’t shoot from a tight angle when a teammate has cleared. I’ll pass the ball to him.” Altruistic in the Madrid jersey, the one who has seven assists in La Liga since the start of the season wants above all to make the others better. At the question : “are you a football enhancer?” Benzema then replies: “I can be salt, pepper or chilli”. With this in mind, the Frenchman also returned to his relationship with Vinicius Jr, even believing that he had allowed the Brazilian to progress.
“We are only going to remember the thing I said (at half-time of the match against Borussia Mönchengladbach on October 27, 2020, Benzema said to Ferland Mendy “He (Vinicius Junior) does anything. not with him, he plays against us). But I know what I brought him. You have to ask him the question. Today, he is no longer the same player. He’s been doing what he should have been doing for a long time and you can’t tell him anything. He is a young player, very good. You just have to talk to him. I know he was capable of producing much more. So, in two or three sentences on the pitch, in two or three movements, I showed him things, especially in the last twenty meters (…). Today, here it is, it’s Vinicius Junior!
Karim Benzema considers himself at the top of his game!
The undisputed leader of Real Madrid, Benzema thus takes on a greater dimension every weekend, especially after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo. A life without CR7 which thus offers more responsibilities to KB9: “When he was playing at Real Madrid, he scored between 50 and 60 goals a year. So you have to adapt to this reality. I had to move more on the pitch, give him space because he makes very good calls in the opponent’s penalty area, and he was more attracted to the goal than me. (…) When he left (in 2018, to join Juventus Turin), what changed was that it was up to me to take over, to score goals, to make assists for my other teammates”, thus justified the person concerned.
Finally affirming to have definitively adapted to the system of play under the tricolor jersey, the prolific scorer of the Casa Blanca has above all admitted to being at the top of his game: “Currently, I find myself at the max. I just need trophies. Afterwards, we can always improve… But I don’t see to what level in fact. (…) I just have to stay at this level. Everyone will say: “Yes, maybe, a little more, thingy.” But here, I don’t see. Technically, tactically, mentally, physically, etc.” A statement that could suggest overconfidence but it is clear that the current level of Benzema leaves admiration. “I would like to see him as who he can become. A real killer with the desire to smash everything and ever higher goals». To conclude and to respond to these statements by a certain Zidane about Nueve in 2014, the Madrid star did not hesitate to say: “He’s there. I’m here. I became that player Zidane was talking about. It’s been me for three years”. And this to the delight of French and Madrid supporters.