The season is fast coming to an end with only five more games left to play in La Liga and it’s been a season to forget for Karim Benzema who arrived at Real Madrid amidst much hopes and expectations from Lyon after Jean-Michel Aulas squeezed out €35 million for the Le Phénomène from Real Madrid.
Unfortunately, the youngster who was to be the new face of Real Madrid's offensive line suffered multiple predicaments from the start. He found it difficult to adapt and integrate into a new country, to cope with the culture shock, learning a new language and injuries. Local fans and media is growing frustrated at being yet to live up to his big price-tag.
Media rumors also report of possible frustration of Spain’s capital club with the forward, who remains hot property because of young age and potential despite his poor form of late, and may sell him in the summer for €20-€25 million to possible suitors from Manchester United, Juventus, or AC Milan in a swap deal for Alexandre Pato.
On his part, Benzema has nullified such rumors, saying, 'I did not sign for Madrid to sign for another club soon after,' he said. 'I want to succeed here.' Karim Djaziri, his agent said, "Benzema will stay in Madrid because he is very happy in Spain. Milan? I have not heard from anyone…"
So far having started only 14 matches and making eight substitute appearances, his self-confidence seems to have spiraled downward. All things considered, playing him for merely last 7-8 minutes as a substitute is not enough time for a player to recover his self-confidence and composure in front of the goal. He is not a teenage canterano looking for any small opening to play but was a proven commodity in France’s Ligue 1 before coming to La Liga.
Benzema will have to be patient and make the most of opportunities that will come his way because come next summer's transfer window, it is possible that a new forward will be purchased if, as expected, Raúl leaves the club and so he may have another player to compete with for playing opportunities.
Its Benzema’s physical strength, acceleration despite his overtly burly appearance, being more creative with the ball and equal adeptness with both feet is what makes him so special.
The way Pellegrini is lining up his starting XI, there seems nothing much for Benzema to do his thing in handful of minutes in dying minutes of the matches. Real is out of all other competitions except La Liga so any hope of playing time through player rotation is out of the question.
If Benzema manages to recover his form then he will be a better option especially for big games in La Liga and Champions League in place of Gonzalo Higuaín who, in comparison, sadly goes missing against big opposition but has managed to retain his position because of scoring exploits however mostly against lesser La Liga opponents. His record at big European stage speaks for himself; 13 goals in 24 matches while Higuaín only has two in 21 matches.
Though Benzema favors and thrived in as a lone forward in Ligue 1, at Real Madrid such a defensive formation is out of question. So he will have to form working partnerships with his colleagues and presently seems to have more understanding with Ronaldo than Higuaín.
Apparently, the only way he can make strong impression on the coach is to now look to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and lift his country to glory and in doing so impress club coach with his performances there.
If and when Benzema comes into his own and starts to fulfill his promise, he (and club) will not be the only one happy. There will be a certain very happy Masseur Jean-Michel Aulas who will be receiving €6 million in total worth of bonus in Lyon’s bank account in the following years.
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