Karim Benzema insists classic It is still the best match in club football despite Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona.
Benzema travels with Real Madrid to the Camp Nou on October 24 (Streaming live at 10:15AM ET on ESPN+) to face Barcelona’s ninth team in the League after a turbulent start to the season for Ronald Koeman’s team.
– Notebook: The latest inside stories around the world
– La Liga on ESPN+: Streaming live games and replays (US only)
Messi’s exit, following Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit from Madrid in 2018 – along with the failure of Spanish teams to win the Champions League in the past three years – has prompted some to question the two’s current level. classic giants.
“For me, it’s still the same,” Benzema told ESPN’s Julian Lorenz in an exclusive interview. “It remains the best game out there in football.” “It doesn’t matter about the players who are there, who have left or who will join. Real Barcelona is historic. The names have changed but before that [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, [Samuel] Ito. Real Barcelona will always be Real Barcelona.”
Real Madrid leads the League, but lost its last away game to Espanyol, while Barcelona won only once in six matches in all competitions, including a 2-0 loss to champions Atlético Madrid before the international break.
This level of performance risked the cost of Koeman his job before the coach finally got the support of President Joan Laporta.
“There is never a good moment to play [them]Benzema said. “A team like Barcelona or any top team, they can have a bad game and then bounce back. It’s a game we can’t take lightly, even if they haven’t played well yet.”
Benzema goes to next weekend classic As LaLiga’s top scorer (nine) and assisting (seven) so far this season, a context of level that made him among the nominees to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or for France Football for the best player in the world next month.
“It has been a dream since I was young and it was also a motivation,” Benzema told ESPN. “The Golden Ball represents the best players in the world and [it’s great] To be on the list…if you count who’s there, it’s very satisfying. He was always a target.”
The 33-year-old said he thought he was “not too far away” from winning the award.
He said, “Yes, you can say that.” “What I’ve done over the past three to four years, is to continue to perform at a high level. When I play, I don’t think of the Ballon d’Or. I think of helping the team win, providing a spectacle.
“The Golden Ball comes as a result because it focuses more on the individual, but it is about the whole group.”
Benzema was among the top scorers alongside Madrid target Kylian Mbappe as France beat Spain 2-1 to win the Nations League final on Sunday, and he made no secret of his desire to continue their attacking partnership at club level.
“He’s great to watch, I love him so much and in matches, it’s getting better and better,” Benzema told ESPN. “If we look at the previous match, we will find each other better and better, he knows what I want and vice versa… let’s see [if we play together at Madrid]. Now it’s great to play together in the French national team but then in terms of Real, let’s see in the future.”