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Should Karim Benzema start for Real Madrid in Champions League Final against Liverpool?

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Villarreal v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Three players for two spots, and that’s assuming both Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio won’t feature in the starting lineup. Bale, Benzema and Isco are competing for two spots with Cristiano Ronaldo upfront. We’ve covered the pros and cons of giving Gareth Bale the chance to play. Now it’s Benzema’s turn.

Pros

  • We’ll say it again. He makes Ronaldo better. It’s clear. Cristiano Ronaldo is Real Madrid’s best player. Cristiano Ronaldo is at his best when Benzema is playing alongside him. In fact, that’s probably the reason why Benzema gets so much love from both Ronaldo and also Zinedine Zidane.
  • He’s actually picked up his form. Benzema scored two goals and completed a brilliant performance in the return leg against Bayern Munich. It’s obvious that the Frenchman has struggled a lot this season, but he was given the chance to deliver against Bayern and he showed up. Huge.
  • His mobility without the ball will keep Liverpool’s center-backs busy. You need to make both Van Dijk and Lovren think. They don’t face many strikers like Benzema in the Premier League and they’d be more comfortable against a traditional attacking system like the one most Premier League teams use. He would also help Kroos and Modric with the ball if the two midfielders face intense pressing.

Cons

  • Real Madrid would need to impose their system to make him work. Benzema isn’t suited to a counterattacking game and Los Blancos will need to find a way to dominate the tempo of the game so that the Frenchman can have an impact. They should be able to do just that, but Pep Guardiola and Manchester City probably felt the same way.
  • His finishing still isn’t good. You need to capitalize on every opportunity you can get during a Champions League Final and it’s clear that Benzema doesn’t provide a lot of firepower.
  • Real wouldn’t have much of an aerial threat with him playing. While Bale’s physicality would allow him to have a chance against Van Dijk and Lovren, Benzema could struggle when the ball is in the air. We know that Madrid like to cross the ball a lot, so Benzema might not be needed if that’s actually the game plan.

HOW TO WATCH, STREAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Date: 05/26/2018

Time: 21:45 local, 20:45 GMT+2 (Spain), 02:45pm EST, 11:45am Pacific.

Venue: Olimpiyskiy Kiev, Kiev, Ukraine.

Available TV: FOX (USA), BT Sport 2 (UK), Antena 3 (Spain).

Available Streaming: FOX Match Pass (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a spring discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).