Friday, May 29, 2020

Real Madrid Should Appreciate What Karim Benzema Brings To The Table

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, La Liga 16 Sep 2019

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Karim Benzema saved the day for Real Madrid this weekend. That’s something he has done more often than not in recent months.

The Frenchman bagged two goals in a six-minute span this past Saturday against Levante, and played a key role during his side’s 3-2 win at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. The 31-year-old is enjoying a great start to the 2019/20 season, and has four goals in four league appearances.

That’s a return most strikers would want, especially in the beginning of the season. However, Real Madrid fans are never happy with what Benzema does on the pitch. Even when he saves the team, the fans are still unsatisfied with the former France international. This seems to be a board issue as well, as Madrid signed Luka Jovic this summer with the hope the Serbian could eventually replace Benzema.

This negative trend needs to stop as soon as possible. And for once, just for once, both fans and board members should appreciate what Benzema gives to – and for – Real Madrid. The stats don’t lie in this case. Per WhoScored, Benzema has been Real’s best player in three of their first four Liga matches with an 8.2 rating overall, four goals and one assist over that span.

Plus, the former Lyon star has been directly involved in five of Real Madrid’s nine goals. Yet, some fans want him gone every summer.

The track record should support Benzema, not be used against him

“He’s not very good”, “he misses easy goals”, “he’s streaky”. Fans have said those – and more awful – things over Benzema across the past few seasons. Yet, the French has scored at least 20 goals across all competitions in six of his 10 seasons with Los Blancos. The biggest criticism lies on the fact that he was poor both on 2016/17 (19 goals in 48 matches) and 2017/18 (12 goals in 47 games).

But let’s face it. Who hasn’t had a bad year? After all, we’re talking about a striker who has been under pressure, on the spotlight and playing at the highest level for more than a decade. At some point, you’re going to face ups-and-downs. Even Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have gone through scoring droughts. But it seems as if most of the criticism is heavier towards Benzema.

It seems things have changed this season. Gareth Bale is now the focus of the criticism at Santiago Bernabeu, and it also helps that Benzema have started the year on fire. But things will be different if he spends two, three or four games without finding the back of the net. It’s likely that, if that happens, then Madrid supporters will unleash his fury towards Benzema once again.

But that’s exactly what shouldn’t happen. The Frenchman has been so good for Madrid this season, that he doesn’t deserve the criticism that goes directed towards him. For once, the supporters need to appreciate what he’s done for the club so far. They have a world-class striker on their squad, and need to consider themselves lucky because of that.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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