Rafael Benitez believes Real Madrid play better when striker Karim Benzema is in the team.
The centre-forward, who suffered an injury while on international duty with France in October and is facing charges of conspiracy to blackmail over an alleged extortion attempt involving a sex-tape of Mathieu Valbuena, was benched for Madrid’s last two fixtures before returning to the starting line-up at home to Getafe, scoring twice in the opening 16 minutes of a 4-1 victory in La Liga.
Benitez feels such influential performances will help the 27-year-old cope with his off-field troubles.
“Benzema’s two goals reinforce that he’s a very important player for us, and makes those around him play better,” the coach said.
“He really wanted to play this game, do well, and score goals. Doing well on the pitch will help him to deal with other things.”
All four of Madrid’s goals came in the first half, with Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo on target in the same game for the first time since April.
Conceding an Alexis header in a tame second half prompted whistles from the Santiago Bernabeu crowd, but Benitez believes the first-half display should be enough to satisfy any disgruntled supporters.
“We played 45 very good minutes. At 4-0 up we dropped the intensity a bit as the work was done,” he said.
“The satisfaction for all fans was to see a great team in the first half, and the game managed until the end.
“The team is doing a lot better than people think, we showed that in first half. We are a good team, with potential to play a lot better.”