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Why Karim Benzema Is Better Fit for Real Madrid Than Radamel Falcao

GETAFE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 16:  Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their second goal during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Real Madrid CF at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on February 16, 2014 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Tim CollinsFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2014

It's difficult to gauge the reliability of the incessant reports linking Monaco's Radamel Falcao with a move to Real Madrid.

Indeed, the speculation surrounding the Colombian and the European champions is perhaps a reflection of president Florentino Perez's lavish history in the transfer market rather than an indication of advanced negotiations. 

On Monday, AS reported that the striker's agent, Jorge Mendes, met with Perez and Real director general Jose Angel Sanchez, adding a good dose of napalm to the fire that is the transfer rumour mill. The more likely scenario, however, is that Mendes—also representing Angel Di Maria—was there to discuss the Argentinian's situation. 

Falcao, of course, would be a marvellous addition to countless teams across Europe. Clubs as notable as Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Atletico MadridBorussia Dortmund, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan would all be enhanced by the presence of the 28-year-old. 

But Real Madrid are not one of those clubs. 

Already possessing Karim Benzema as a first-choice No. 9, the addition of Falcao would only disrupt the unrivalled cohesion among the Los Blancos' front three that elevated the men from the Bernabeu above their European rivals in 2013-14. 

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Last season, it was when Carlo Ancelotti switched from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 that everything fell into place for Real Madrid.

Placing Benzema as the central fulcrum of a front line also boasting Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, the trio overwhelmed their opponents thanks to the contrasting skills of the Frenchman in the middle of the devastating athletes on either wing. 

"It isn't important to have a centre-forward who scores a lot of goals, but it is to have a player who can play Bale or Cristiano in," Ancelotti recently said during Real's pre-season tour of the United States, according to Marca.

"We're not going to look for another forward because we don't need one," the decorated manager assertively added. 

An astute tactician, Ancelotti clearly recognises the importance of Benzema to the dynamic of his attack. While his 17 league goals last season were undoubtedly significant, his importance to the continental champions lies in his ability to link up with others. 

Comfortable with his back to goal, fond of one-twos, keen to distribute and adept at laying the ball off to teammates running by, the Frenchman perfectly complements the rampant Portuguese and Welshman on either flank, who are more inclined to attack the penalty area to shoot. 

As the following numbers indicate, Benzema's propensity to create rather than finish is what made him an indispensable member of Ancelotti's XI last term.

Real Madrid Front Three Per 90 Minutes in La Liga 2013-14
RonaldoBaleBenzema
Shots7.673.843.33
Chances Created1.671.742.06
Key Passes1.351.221.77
Squawka

Falcao, on the other hand, is a striker typically accustomed to playing up front on his own.

During his pair of sparkling seasons with Atletico Madrid, the Colombian thrived as the focal point of Los Rojiblancos' attack.

Charged with the responsibility of firing Real's crosstown rivals to victory on a weekly basis, Falcao's lethal finishing skills—and those skills only—were what elevated the striker into the world's upper echelon of stars. 

But chemistry, balance and fluidity—not goals—are what Real Madrid need. Remember, no outfit in Europe outscored Ancelotti's men in 2013-14. The same thing is the case over a combined five-year period for Real. 

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - MAY 09:  Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Europa League Final between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the National Arena on May 9, 2012 in Bucharest, Romania.  (Photo b
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Falcao, for all the firepower he brings, isn't suited to playing the central pivot that is needed in between Ronaldo and Bale.

So while his scoring record (52 goals in two La Liga seasons) at the Vicente Calderon awed onlookers, that number isn't relevant to Real Madrid.

Instead, it's Falcao's tally of just four assists in 68 league appearances with Atletico that has greater ramifications for Los Blancos if they were to land his signature.

And if you compare Benzema's 2013-14 campaign with Falcao's last season in Madrid from a statistical standpoint, it's clear that the Colombian would compete with Real's attacking stars rather than complement them, likely upsetting the balance at the Bernabeu in the process. 

Attacking Comparison For Benzema and Falcao
Benzema (RM 13-14)Falcao (AM 12-13)
Goals1728
Shots102123
Assists91
Chances Created6332
Key Passes5431
Forward Passes435313
Squawka Performance Score1076964
Squawka

Lamentably, president Perez has shown a habit for disregarding cohesion in his quest for unparalleled glamour. A decade ago, David Beckham was an unnecessary purchase. The acquisition of James Rodriguez this summer can be considered the same. 

The concept of common sense—perhaps not as common as we're led to believe—has never infiltrated the current president's office.

Ancelotti, however, has clearly outlined his position, clearly backing Benzema to play a key role in Real Madrid's European title defence, understanding the Frenchman's compatibility with the team's other stars.

"We're not going to look for another forward because we don't need one," Ancelotti said.

And he is absolutely right.

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