Karim Benzema was the player selected to speak to the press ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League second leg against Atalanta, speaking just before Zinedine Zidane’s own press conference. The striker discussed a number of topics, starting with the danger that’ll be posed by the Tuesday night opponents.
On Atalanta, he said: “We’ll go out with a lot of ambition and motivation. I think it’ll be a very difficult match because we’re facing a very difficult opponent. We have a slight advantage from the first leg, but that doesn’t mean too much. We’re ready to go out to try to win. I don’t know if there are favourites nowadays. Big teams can lose to small teams. Football has changed a lot and any team can reach the Champions League final.”
Asked about Real Madrid’s problems in attack this season and the fact that there is so much pressure on his shoulders to score most of the teams goals, he replied: “There’s always pressure at this club. We have chances to score more goals and we’re working in training every day so that we can score more in the matches. All the players who are in attack want to score more and we need to score more. But, in the end, we’re winning matches. Each year there are opponents who are stronger and who sit deeper. It’s hard to score two, three or four goals like everyone wants. For me, I’m always trying to help the team when I’m on the pitch.”
Given the low goalscoring production of his attacking colleagues, it was put to Benzema that he might welcome the return of Cristiano Ronaldo. He said: “With Cristiano, I’ve achieved a lot of things here at Real Madrid. But, he left three years ago and he has joined another team. I’m not the president or the coach, so I’m not sure what I can tell you. I don’t know if he’s feeling good or bad at Juventus. But, to play with him again? Of course, we’ve always got on well. He’s a player who’ll always score goals, but I can’t say anything about if he’ll come because I’m not the president or the coach.”
Discussing his own future and his contractual situation, the striker said: “I’m focusing on the day-to-day work here. I enjoy every training session and match. It’s true that I have a contract until 2022, but my door is open and if the president wants me to stay then I’m here. I’m lucky enough to play in the best club in the world. I look after myself well to always be at the level required for Real Madrid.”
Finally, the Frenchman spoke about Eden Hazard’s latest injury. On his teammate’s physical woes, he said: “He hasn’t had much luck since arriving here. I’m quite sad for him and I think he’s quite sad too because he wants to show that he is a star. We’re here to help him. But, for now, he’s injured. I hope he can recover soon and help us on the pitch because we need Eden.”