Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is still the best “real” No.9 in the world according to fellow Frenchman Andre-Pierre Gignac.
This season marks the 31-year-old’s 10th season in Madrid but the Spanish giants have disappointed both domestically and in Europe this campaign.
Is Benzema the best No.9? Five things you need to know…
- Karim Benzema joined Real in 2009 from Ligue 1 side Lyon for a transfer fee of £30m.
- The Frenchman has scored 219 goals in 461 appearances in all competitions for Real, averaging a goal every 2.1 games.
- The striker has won two La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues trophies and two Copa del Rey’s among many other titles.
- This season, Benzema has scored 27 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions.
- Gignac – like Benzema – plied his trade in Ligue 1 prior to both of their departures from French football.
Speaking to reporters, Gignac couldn’t hide his admiration for the former Lyon striker, admitting that he still believes Benzema is a striker of the highest standards.
Dropping in a humble note to his own impressive scoring record prior to Benzema’s transfer to Madrid, Gignac praised the 31-year-old’s exploits in the final third.
“In Toulouse, I was 23 years old and a rival [to the league’s best strikers],” Gignac told L’Equipe.
“I finished seven goals ahead of Karim Benzema, who was going to sign for Real Madrid at the time. It’s good for me because Karim remains the best ‘real’ number 9 in the world.”
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Poor season for Madrid
Despite Benzema consistently finding the back of the net once again this season for Real, the club have struggled throughout the campaign to provide that same consistency.
Madrid are 16 points off table-toppers and arch-rivals Barcelona in La Liga, with recently appointed manager Zinedine Zidane – returning to the club less than a year since his departure – given a big task to do.
The Spanish giants have won the previous three Champions League’s but after losing out to talented Dutch outfit Ajax earlier this year, Madrid’s hopes of making it four in a row ended in spectacular fashion.
A Copa del Rey semi-final defeat to Barcelona only went to further highlight the poor campaign for Madrid, who will now need to re-evaluate and start again in the new season.