Benzema's Madrid form justifies all the praise according to Kroos

By Sports Desk November 06, 2021

Karim Benzema fully merits the plaudits for a stunning start to the season, according to Real Madrid team-mate Toni Kroos.

Benzema scored Madrid's second goal in a 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday and leads LaLiga for both goals (10) and assists (seven).

He has now been directly involved in 22 goals in 15 matches for Madrid in all competitions this season, trailing only Bayern Munich talisman Robert Lewandowski (25 involvements in 17 matches) of players in Europe's top-five leagues.

"I see what Karim does in training and how he plays and deserves every success," Kroos told Movistar.

"But what matters to me is what you win with us. I am happy with my goal but because it helped us win. The individual awards do not interest me much.

"We came from a tough match in the Champions League and at 2-1 you suffer a little. Vinicius has helped us a lot so far, in difficult times too, and I hope he continues like this."

Benzema has now reached 10 goals in 11 of his 13 seasons in La Liga (10 in 2021-22) and only former Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi (15) has scored 10-plus goals in more campaigns in the competition in the 21st century than the French striker.

The 33-year-old Benzema was substituted by Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti with seven minutes left and replaced by Eden Hazard.

Ancelotti felt Benzema could have got more goals – having had one struck off by VAR early in the first half before he netted from close range – but suffered from fatigue in the second half.

"It's quite rare that Karim misses the opportunities we've had," Ancelotti added. "I have removed him because he was tired."

Rayo pulled a goal back through former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, who has netted a goal every 67 minutes in LaLiga this season with the best ratio in the competition (five goals after 334 minutes played).

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois admitted the failure to keep a clean sheet took the gloss of the victory and his team-mates must learn to grind out a victory if they are unable to be prolific in front of goal.

"It was part good and part bittersweet at the end," Courtois said.

"We controlled the game, but in the end they almost ended up drawing. Today the three points were very important. They have pushed and we don't take advantage of our chances to score more goals.

"We managed the game quite well, but in the penultimate corner they almost scored a goal and there we have to improve. The team has shown that it knows how to fight and that we are focused until the end. 

"We have to try to keep a clean sheet and close out the game. It's something we have to change because we have a lot of quality to score more goals."

Related items

  • Reported Arsenal and Liverpool target Yeremi Pino could be sold by Villarreal, Emery admits Reported Arsenal and Liverpool target Yeremi Pino could be sold by Villarreal, Emery admits

    Villarreal boss Unai Emery has acknowledged the Yellow Submarine may be forced to sell young winger Yeremi Pino, amid reports linking him with a move to Arsenal.

    The Gunners have reportedly been in the market for another versatile attacker since top target Raphinha opted to join Barcelona earlier in the transfer window, while the Spanish press has also touted Liverpool as potential suitors for Yeremi.

    The 19-year-old played a key role as Villarreal made the Champions League semi-finals last season, making 40 appearances for Emery's team in all competitions.

    Yeremi recorded seven goals and four assists in a strong campaign, also creating 32 chances for LaLiga's seventh-placed finishers.

    But Emery told reporters on Friday the club may be powerless to keep him in the face of Premier League interest, acknowledging: "If an offer arrives for players like Yeremi Pino, then he will have to leave.

    "We have a responsibility with the club. It is what it is."

    Villarreal go to Real Valladolid for their first outing of the 2022-23 LaLiga season on Saturday.

  • Arsenal and Liverpool target Yeremi Pino could be sold by Villarreal, Emery admits Arsenal and Liverpool target Yeremi Pino could be sold by Villarreal, Emery admits

    Villarreal boss Unai Emery has acknowledged the Yellow Submarine may be forced to sell young winger Yeremi Pino, amid reports linking him with a move to Arsenal.

    The Gunners have reportedly been in the market for another versatile attacker since top target Raphinha opted to join Barcelona earlier in the transfer window, while the Spanish press has also touted Liverpool as potential suitors for Yeremi.

    The 19-year-old played a key role as Villarreal made the Champions League semi-finals last season, making 40 appearances for Emery's team in all competitions.

    Yeremi recorded seven goals and four assists in a strong campaign, also creating 32 chances for LaLiga's seventh-placed finishers.

    But Emery told reporters on Friday the club may be powerless to keep him in the face of Premier League interest, acknowledging: "If an offer arrives for players like Yeremi Pino, then he will have to leave.

    "We have a responsibility with the club. It is what it is."

    Villarreal go to Real Valladolid for their first outing of the 2022-23 LaLiga season on Saturday.

  • 'Anything can happen' – Xavi not ruling out De Jong and Aubameyang Barca exits 'Anything can happen' – Xavi not ruling out De Jong and Aubameyang Barca exits

    Barcelona coach Xavi refused to rule out exits for Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the eve of their LaLiga opener, acknowledging "anything can happen".

    Manchester United's interest in De Jong has evolved into one of the longest-running sagas of the transfer window, while Chelsea are being strongly linked with both the Netherlands midfielder and Barca striker Aubameyang.

    Although Xavi and president Joan Laporta have expressed confidence Barca will overcome their financial woes to register a host of new acquisitions ahead of Saturday's fixture against Rayo Vallecano, they are trying to offload players and reduce the wage bill.

    While Xavi still considers both men key players, he made it clear they may depart before the transfer window closes.

    "From here until August 31 a lot can happen, but I like Aubameyang a lot," Xavi told a news conference on Friday.

    "He helped us a lot, he's an important player for me, he arrived here with a lot of humility, a good work ethic, so we'll see what happens."

    On De Jong's future, the Blaugrana boss added: "It's the same as Aubameyang, he's an important player and he's part of the squad. 

    "If I can use him, great. From now until the 31st we will see what possibilities there are and where we are with regards to our participation in the market. 

    "From now until August 31, anything can happen with Frenkie and with any players in the squad."

    Reports have suggested tensions are high between De Jong and the club after he appeared to be jeered by a group of supporters while arriving at training earlier this week.

    But Xavi denies there is any ill-feeling towards De Jong, who joined from Ajax for a reported fee of €75million in 2019.

    "I didn't hear whistles, I heard applause," Xavi claimed. "People are able to express how and when they want, I'm here to try to improve the squad and make a cohesive unit. 

    "It depends on how you perform on the pitch whether they support you or whistle. I think Frenkie can help the squad very well, he's helped the club also and I have no complaints."

    One player who is set to leave Barcelona is young midfielder Nico Gonzalez, who declared on Wednesday he would be joining Valencia on a season-long loan.

    Nico made 37 appearances for Barca last season – although only 17 were starts – and Xavi revealed the 20-year-old asked to leave.

    "He came to me three weeks ago. I insisted that he continue because he would have minutes. I like Nico," Xavi said. "But a few days ago, he came back and told me that there was a team where he would play. 

    "He has been brave and is going to Valencia. I hope he comes back more mature because it will be important for the future of Barca. 

    "For the midfield we have Busquets, [Miralem] Pjanic, [Franck] Kessie, Frenkie, Sergi Roberto, and even [Andreas] Christensen who can play there."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.