Benzema is the business, crows Zidane

French forward has scored eight goals in his last six matches and is the third top scorer in La Liga, with 17 strikes


REUTERS March 21, 2021

VIGO:

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane sung the praises of Karim Benzema after the French forward's two goals helped his side to a 3-1 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday and continued a prolific goalscoring run stretching to six consecutive games.

"Thanks for asking about him, because he is the business," Zidane told reporters.

"For people who like football Karim is a joy to watch, everyone enjoys watching him and his team mates enjoy playing with him. We just hope he continues like this as he makes the difference, and he knows his team mates are important too."

Benzema had scored crucial goals in Real's last two league outings to secure a draw at title rivals Atletico Madrid and a comeback win over Elche and then netted the opening goal in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Atalanta in the Champions League.

But he showed no signs of tiredness as he put his side on the way to a victory to keep the heat on leaders Atletico, scoring the opener in the 20th minute by controlling a pass from Toni Kroos then slotting into the bottom corner.

He combined with Kroos again 10 minutes later to score his second, then providing an assist for Marco Asensio to clinch the victory in stoppage time after Santi Mina's goal had pulled Celta back into contention.

"What he did today was spectacular and I'm delighted for him because he's a real worker and he always wants to do more," Zidane added.

Benzema has scored eight goals in his last six matches in all competitions and is the third top scorer in La Liga, with 17 strikes.

But unlike the majority of Real's squad, Benzema will not be joining his national side next week for World Cup qualifiers.

He has not been selected by France since being suspended in 2015 for his involvement in a conspiracy to blackmail former international team mate Mathieu Valbuena.

On talent alone, Zidane said he did not understand Benzema's continued omission from the France side.

But he is also grateful his talismanic forward will get a rest ahead of the final stretch of the season, as his side will fight for the title with Atletico and Barcelona and face Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals.

"I don't understand it, many people don't understand it, but speaking as the coach of Real Madrid, it's better for us this way," Zidane added.

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