Zinedine Zidane was asked whether he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland as his Real Madrid No.9 after their Champions League victory over Atalanta, and his response was clear.
He wants Karim Benzema.
The French forward scored his 270th Real goal in his 544th appearance for the club in the 3-1 victory over the Serie A side, with the Spanish giants advancing to the last eight of the Champions League for the first time since they won the competition in 2018.
Benzema has long been considered as an underrated force in the Real side, often playing second fiddle to Ronaldo when the Portuguese ace was at the club.
Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Real this summer, and with Mbappe and Haaland also said to be on the Bernabeu radar the question was put to Zidane by reporters after Tuesday’s match.
“For the moment, we have Karim Benzema. And we take advantage of Karim Benzema”, Zidane told RMC Sport.
“We do not know when he will stop.
“Not to mention the goal, it is especially in the game that he is exceptional.
“Not many players are able to control the ball as he does, to make others play and especially not to lose the ball.”
Benzema opened the scoring in the first half of the clash in Madrid, with Sergio Ramos netting a penalty and Marco Asensio scoring a third goal late on, shortly after Luis Muriel had netted a consolation for Atalanta.
Zidane was particularly pleased with the displays of Ramos and Luka Modric, who he says belied their advanced age with their performances.
“They are not grandpas,” he said.
“They always want to show that they are still there and that they are good.
“Modric, on the pitch, you don’t feel like he’s 35. is the same for everyone “