Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema is the best out-and-out striker in world football.
Bayern Munich’s Poland international Robert Lewandowski has stolen headlines with his phenomenal goalscoring feats this season, netting 22 times in 16 appearances for club and country.
But Ancelotti feels Benzema remains a cut above the competition, with his presence even making life easier for fellow forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
“It is ideal for Ronaldo and Bale… to me, Karim is the best player in the world in his position and not just as a goalscorer,” Ancelotti told AS ahead of the eagerly anticipated Champions League showdown between two of the Italian’s former clubs, Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
“Talking about whether he should score 30 goals is a false debate. He has great qualities; he is a complete player.”
Much of the build-up to the match at the Parc des Princes, for which Benzema remains a doubt with a hamstring problem, is likely to focus on the duel for supremacy between two other forwards on display – Ronaldo and PSG’s enigmatic star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Having worked with both men, Ancelotti appreciates their considerable qualities.
“Cristiano has scored many goals and has a great ability to focus,” he said.
“He focuses on the daily training and is very important for the team and the other players.
“I can say the same for Ibrahimovic, I think he was more important to change the mentality of the PSG players.”
On the outcome of the match itself, Ancelotti is torn over what he anticipates will be a close encounter.
He added: “My heart is divided. It is a very close game, we’ll see the strength of PSG this year. I think it’s an important game for PSG.”