Real Madrid's most maddening striker, Karim Benzema, rejected rumors of a £27 move to Arsenal today. The extremely talented, yet exceedingly inconsistent Frenchman reiterated his strong desire to win with los blancos, even if it requires increased competition from another striker (other than Gonzalo Higuaín).
I've not spoken with anybody [about a move from Madrid]. I'm at Madrid and I want to succeed here. Nothing more. I'm at Madrid, which is the important thing. It's normal that Madrid want to sign the best players in the world. I'm going to work hard to be able to play. I'm 100%. It's not a problem for me that they want to sign strikers. I have a very high level of confidence. I'm going to work hard and succeed.
He also reiterated how happy he was to be working with José Mourinho, who, he says, "has been great for me [...] has always helped me."
As much as I've ragged on him in the past for seemingly wasting his undeniable supply of talent, Karim really did take a step forward last year under Mourinho. He looked comfortable on the pitch, moved well, and tracked back well on defense; on offense, he made accurate runs into space, and supplied a huge number of assists. If he starts actually putting away the chances that players like Özil, Cristiano and di María give him, then he has potential to be one of the great strikers in the world.
But that's the dream, isn't it? Speaking of dreams...
Raphaël Verane, Madrid's youngest and most-compared-toFernando-Hierro signing of the offseason is caught on tape singing the praises of José Mourinho (and Real Madrid in general). The official Real Madrid twitter was kind enough to share his thoughts with us:
I'm really excited about this kid. He looks great in almost every facet of the game, and with a little help from José's tactical and motivational mind, he could end up being a force in Madrid's back four for years to come.
But let's stop with the Hierro comparisons! We do it every single time Madrid buy a new center back, and it's never true. So let's just stop. Let's agree that this particular comparison is both annoying and will never be true. OK?
Oh, and Madrid's 6th day of training at UCLA has been documented on video, for some reason: