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Football Reporting

Paris Saint-Germain

Benzema: Real Madrid’s leader on and off the pitch

Karim Benzema looks set to be Real Madrid‘s on-pitch captain this season.

The armband – based on the duration of a player’s stay at the club – has passed to Marcelo, but with the Brazilian behind both Ferland Mendy and Miguel Gutierrez in the pecking order, it is unlikely he will be a starter in Carlo Ancelotti‘s first XI.

Whether it’s Benzema or Marcelo, it’s all quite the break from history, given that Real Madrid have not had a non-Spanish captain since Guatamalan Federico Revuelto in 1904.

And this year – with Sergio Ramos having departed to Paris Saint-Germain – there’s only Nacho Fernandez as third captain, with Luka Modric fourth.

Benzema has been back in training this week having overcome his bout of COVID-19.

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And if the 2018 exit of Cristiano Ronaldo has gradually seen the Frenchman take on more responsibility than ever on the pitch, then this term he is going to be one of the key men off it too, with another experienced head in Raphael Varane having joined Ramos in leaving the Spanish capital this summer.

Benzema, who will soon put pen to paper on his new contract until 2023, scored 30 goals last season and will once again be expected to carry the goalscoring burden.

After a successful European Championship he is right back in the fold with France after a long absence, and Ancelotti will find a more mature forward under his wing than in the Italian’s first managerial spell at the club.

Benzema was then part of the famous ‘BBC’ trident alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and his role was more about cohabiting with those two stars, rather than puffing out his own chest.

Bale has returned to Real Madrid this summer, but his condition and form are an unknown and in the absence of other new forwards this transfer window, Benzema is the man Ancelotti wants to get firing.

“We’ve got to get Karim scoring 50 goals, not 30,” Ancelotti said.

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“It’s the same for Vinicius [Junior].

“We’ve got to focus on what we have, not what we don’t have.”

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