Benzema signs new Real Madrid deal

By Sports Desk August 20, 2021

Karim Benzema will remain a Real Madrid player through to the end of the 2022-23 season after the talisman agreed a one-year extension to his contract.

The Spanish capital giants continue to be linked with moves for Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, but they have ensured Benzema will be around to help any new arrivals settle.

A fresh deal for the 33-year-old was announced on Friday as the France striker pledged his allegiance again to the cause he joined in 2009 after beginning his career at Lyon.

Head coach Carlo Ancelotti saw Benzema prove his value to the team with two goals in the 4-1 season-opening LaLiga win at Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

This season more than ever it appears Benzema will have a crucial role to play, given his seniority and profile at the club. Marcelo has been appointed as captain following the departure of Sergio Ramos, but there is little doubt Benzema will also be expected to show leadership.

With Marcelo absent for the Alaves game, it was Benzema who skippered the team, spearheading the attack as Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard supported from the flanks.

The value of Benzema to Madrid has long been obvious, but since Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus in July 2018 his goals and forward play have become ever more important.

In the period since record scorer Ronaldo moved on, Benzema has scored 89 goals in 148 games for Madrid, surpassing an expected goals score of 79.88. Only four players from Europe's top five leagues have scored more in that time: Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Ronaldo.

Excluding penalties from the equation, Benzema has netted more times than Ronaldo, scoring 80 to his former team-mate's haul of 72 for Juve.

Only Bayern Munich's Lewandowski (33 goals) has scored more headers than Benzema's 23 in the same period. Messi, who left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain this month, is the only player to have hit the woodwork more often: 33 times to Benzema's 26.

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    While the Brazil international will bring a number of qualities to United, Saha believes his former side's issues run far deeper than simply bringing in a new midfielder.

    United find themselves bottom of the Premier League for the first time since August 1992, which is the only previous occasion they lost their opening two games in the competition.

    "It's a massive signing," Saha said. "But it is not a midfielder, it is not a striker, it is not a defender, goalkeeper or other transfers that are going to solve United’s problems. 

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    Casemiro is set to become United's fourth signing of the window following the arrivals of Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.

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    "I respect so much Cristiano and I think he's in this bracket as such a special player that I completely understand the way to manage this is not easy," he said.

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    "He got 24 goals last season and shut all the criticism in terms of his personal ability, and that was in a team not playing well," Saha said.

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