Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna says Karim Benzema is France’s best striker after renewing rivalries with the Real Madrid star in the Champions League.
The French Football Federation (FFF) have ruled the 28-year-old out of Euro 2016 as his alleged involvement in a plot to blackmail fellow international Mathieu Valbuena continues to be investigated.
Benzema played the first half of Madrid and City’s 0-0 draw in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday before he was withdrawn through injury.
But Sagna saw enough in 45 minutes to convince him that Benzema remains France’s premier marksman.
“We did not have the opportunity to speak, he left the game quite early,” Sagna is quoted by RMC.
“He impressed me, he managed to keep the ball and made a few chances. This is an interesting player and for me, Karim is the best French striker.”
Benzema had been struggling with a knee injury before Etihad Stadium clash and Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has suggested he may not return for next week’s return fixture.
With Cristiano Ronaldo also sitting out the first leg with a hamstring injury, Sagna cheekily suggested Zidane could solve the problems by bringing himself out of retirement.
He added: “It’s special, it’s strange. This great man represents the whole of France, to see him as a coach is weird.
“I know he brings a lot to his team. He is an example for everyone, for the players who play today they run a little more for him.
“He has exceptional quality, he could have been part of this team. He even still trains with them occasionally.”
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