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Lyon's Jean-Michel Aulas Discusses Plans for Karim Benzema's Return

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2019

VITORIA GASTEIZ, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 30: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Deportivo Alaves v Real Madrid at the Estadio de Mendizorroza on November 30, 2019 in Vitoria Gasteiz Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed the club has already talked Real Madrid star Karim Benzema's agent, and the French side are hopeful they can lure him back to his old stomping grounds.

Aulas spoke to BeIN Sports (h/t AS English), saying a move for the prolific striker is not impossible:

"Karim may be a possibility. We talked about it with [Benzema’s agent] Karim Djaziri last year. During that time, there have been a lot of changes at Real Madrid. He has immense talent. Furthermore, he is one of the best players France has.

"For that reason it’s not possible at this moment. But if the opportunity arises tomorrow or the day after… Juninho has already said as much and, generally speaking, when Juninho says he’ll get something done, it gets done."

VITORIA-GASTEIZ, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 30: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF shoots on goal during the Liga match between Deportivo Alaves and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de Mendizorroza on November 30, 2019 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Image
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Per the report, sporting director Juninho previously stated Lyon want Benzema to finish his career with the club and train some of its youngsters. According to AS, he will be offered the role of player-coach. His current contract expires in 2021.

Benzema spent over a decade at Lyon, both in the academy and as a star forward for the senior team. He moved to the Spanish capital in 2009 and has been a near-automatic starter for Los Blancos ever since.

Per AS, he's sixth on the list of all-time club scorers, needing just six goals to overtake Ferenc Puskas. The 31-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down in 2019:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Karim Benzema's LaLiga by numbers in 2019: • 33 games • 25 goals • 8 assists Only Lionel Messi has scored (30) and been directly involved (38) in more. #BallondOr https://t.co/c3dcKGfr2G

His tactical versatility has seen him find success as a secondary option playing next to Cristiano Ronaldo, but he's been just as effective as the primary scorer since the Portuguese star left for Juventus.

He has often reserved his best for the big stage, scoring at a remarkable rate in the UEFA Champions League:

While the forward is clearly still among the world's best, an eventual return to Lyon could be appealing. The ambitious Aulas has built a strong, young squad that could challenge for silverware soon, but some veteran leadership is needed.

Moussa Dembele, Houssem Aouar, Lucas Tousart and Joachim Andersen form a strong core of talented youngsters, while the likes of Memphis Depay and Jason Denayer can be difference-makers when form is on their side.

Their inexperience and lack of stability has led to an up-and-down season so far, however, and the team sits seventh in the Ligue 1 standings, 11 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

An experienced veteran like Benzema could be the missing puzzle piece, and after 10 years in Madrid, the Frenchman could be open to a new challenge, back where it all began for him.