Why Real Madrid Fans Don't Like Karim Benzema and Ancelotti's Big No. 9 Problem

Guillem BalagueFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2013

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - JULY 27:  Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates after he scores his team's opening goal during the pre season friendly match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at Ullevi on July 27, 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Since Karim Benzema joined Real Madrid in 2009, he has scored no fewer than 91 goals in 189 appearances, per Goal.com, as well as laid on 51 assists.

So why don’t the Real Madrid public like him?

With four goals and two assists in just six games already this season, Benzema has made his best start since he joined the club. So what’s wrong?

The sight of Alvaro Arbeloa urging the reluctant Madrid faithful to applaud the French-born striker as he was being substituted in the 80th minute of the club’s match against Getafe says it all.

The problem is that the Spanish, and especially the Madrilenos, like their football served up with style, class, panache and, above all, with passion.

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Karim Benzema of Real Madrid heads the ball during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Getafe  at Bernabeu stadium on September 22, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Bernabeu legend Raul Gonzalez had it in spades. Here was a man who would chase after the impossible ball; a man who would run through brick walls for the shirt. And they loved him for it, and for that matter, still do.

Even David Beckham, who in reality won very little at Real, was a favourite and is still spoken about in glowing terms by the Madrid public—simply because he was always prepared to give his all.

But while the aforementioned two are perceived as having had boiling Real Madrid blood coursing through their veins, the fact is that Benzema, despite his goals and assists, is regarded by the demanding public as having no more than semi-skimmed milk trickling through his.

This season, with Gonzalo Higuain sold and not replaced, Madrid have decided to play with just the one No. 9, Benzema. The trouble with that is that Benzema is not your typical No. 9, because he is quite simply not a clinical finisher. Yes, he will score goals, but he’ll probably miss as many, if not more, in the process.

Ronaldo certainly doesn't fancy playing in that No. 9 role.

Benzema may feel unloved by the Madrid faithful but, more importantly for him, he still enjoys the support of club president, Florentino Perez. So, for the time being, he is still an important player for Real. 

Madrid should still have more than enough in the tank to challenge for this year’s La Liga title and other domestic honours. But I can’t help thinking that unless they address the No. 9 situation sooner rather than later they could well find themselves falling short yet again in their campaign for the elusive 10th European title.