Former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was recently interviewed by Talksport where he talked about how saddened he was about France and Karim Benzema being knocked out of the EURO 2020 tournament by Switzerland.
“He is the reason I’m a bit sad France didn’t go through because I think Benzema could be… Cristiano Ronaldo no, Lionel Messi no, Mbappe no…I think Benzema would finally have the chance to get some Gold Ball or something like that.
“He’s an amazing player and he was playing so well, under huge pressure, because when he came back to the national team he was under huge pressure and he was fantastic.”
Mourinho also drew comparisons between Benzema and Tottenham striker Harry Kane, both of whom he’s managed at the club level.
“Sometimes people ask me when I was at Tottenham to try to compare Harry with other strikers. I always used Karim because these are the strikers who if they don’t score they still give a lot to the team.
“Other strikers, if they don’t score they give nothing. They are just goalscorers. These guys are not just goalscorers, they are football players. Benzema is a nine, a ten, when he was younger with me, I was playing Gonzalo Higuain as a nine and sometimes Benzema was playing behind or on the left or right.
“He’s a fantastic player and he’s taking so much care of himself and his preparation, now physically he is better than he was ten years ago.
“He is better, he is slimmer, he is stronger, he is faster. I think he’s playing amazingly well and I’m disappointed he’s not going on in the competition because I was supporting him to do something special.”
Some additional details about Benzema’s return to the French international squad this summer was also revealed by French outlet Sports.fr. They claim that some France players, including Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, and several team executives were bothered by the hype that Benzema received upon his return to the international stage.
They also claim that France president Emmanuel Macron was a key to Benzema’s return to the national team after pushing for his call-up to duty despite the striker’s five-year ban, according to reporter Romain Molina.