Taking a neutral standpoint on the entire Karim Benzema debate is impossible. The Frenchman has come under the spotlight for his lack of goals and two tides of generally accepted opinion have taken shape to divide the public in a stance on former Lyon front man.
As a public person himself, a man of football and of journalist stature, Gary Lineker has every right to aim a critique towards a certain football subject matter which is exactly what he did when he threw a bone at the blood thirsty plebeians with the following twitter post.
Is it me or is Benzema a tad overrated? A goal every other game in a team as strong as Real Madrid is nada especial. Decent not great.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 17, 2017
The former Barcelona star caused quite a stir on social media and was even mentioned by both Karim Benzema himself and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane in a rather unfortunate development.
Lineker comment was simply stating the obvious and putting a strong and an unspoken-of point of view on Karim Benzema and his form.
A worrying lack of goals – some would argue – is not a problem in essence given that Karim Benzema offers much more for Los Blancos.
So what exactly is keeping Karim Benzema in the Real Madrid starting line-up and should the Frenchman be dropped?
Here is a Pro et Contra analysis.
Karim Benzema is a brand. Having arrived to Real Madrid in 2009/10 as a finished product and a polished gem snatched from in front of Manchester United’s noses, the Frenchman made a name for himself through his unselfish nature.
Karim Benzema is a physical presence up front. Real Madrid striker holds the ball rather well and is a vital part of Real Madrid’s build-up play. As a strong anchorman Benzema is capable of holding the ball with his back towards goal and distribute it through channels and on the wings to allow Real Madrid more room in running against the lines in the final third.
On a more important note, Karim Benzema is seen as an unselfish foil for Cristiano Ronaldo – the undisputed king of Madrid – who would make great use of Benzema’s team player nature to boost his own numbers.
The problem is, however, that neither Cristiano Ronaldo is enjoying a fruitful scoring spree this season nor does Karim Benzema offer anything special in Real Madrid attacking line this season.
With four goals in 14 La Liga rounds between them, Ronaldo and Benzema are understandably in the focus, although Zinedine Zidane is doing his best to protect his stars and Karim Benzema in particular.
“Karim won’t score 60 goals a season but hew will score 25 or 30 and make another 30 or 40”, Zidane said in revert to Lineker’s comments.
Zinedine Zidane’s statement offers a solid starting point in the process of building the case against Benzema.
If we limit our focus to only La Liga performances, for a natural striker such as Karim Benzema it is goals that count the most. Looking over the shoulder into his past seasons at Real Madrid a telling insight occurs.
Benzema has thus far scored only 2 goals in the Spanish championship. The number stood at 11 a season before that and 24 in 2015/16. To put things into perspective once more, Barcelona striker Luis Suarez scored no less than 16 La Liga goals over last five seasons. A declining trend over the past three seasons is evident and Zidane is also not right claiming that his protegee would go on to create more than he scores.
During his nine years at Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema has yet to go over 16 assists across all competitions. The number stands at 15 in the past two seasons – combined.
The one competition that has Karim Benzema at the pedestal is the Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy are the only four forwards to have scored more than the Frenchman’s tally of 51 goals in the competition.
He is found at a 13/12 price to improve the Champions League goalscoring tally against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. The Frenchman will be under great pressure to score and shrug off the growing criticism.
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