Zidane: “People who like football have to like Benzema”

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane spoke ahead of the team’s trip to face Eibar at Ipurua —Saturday, 13:00 CET— and discussed the 1-2 win at the Parc des Princes against PSG. The French manager wanted to support Benzema after the two missed chances by the attacker on Tuesday.

“I’m not going to comment on what’s been said. I was pleased with Karim’s contribution. I’d have liked him to score but he did a lot for the team and we have to be patient. Other players got the goals, we won the game and I’m not concerned by anything else. People who know about football know what a good player he is. There are some who like him, others don’t. Some people love Isco, others don’t. That’s something we cannot change,” said Zidane. “Karim has to carry on because we should look at what he’s achieved in his nine years here. I really like him as a player and his numbers speak for themselves. He may be the Madrid number 9 and we ask more of him because he’s not been scoring lately. But he’s doing an awful lot for the team and the goals will come. People who like football have to like Benzema,” he added.

Zidane also explained that while right now he is not a starter for the club, Bale remains an important player on this squad.

“He’s not lacking anything. He’s part of a squad full of good players. He’s doing a great job as well and we have a lot of games. He didn’t start in either last-sixteen game but I’ve not got any problem with him. He’s a fantastic player and very important for us, just like everyone else. There’s no problem with him being on the bench, I spoke with him and he knows what it’s all about. You’re looking for a problem where there isn’t one. I pick a team every three days and for me, Gareth is crucial, but there are other important players as well,” said the coach.

Real Madrid will have to set their focus on the Champions League this season as their odds of conquering La Liga have vanished. Still, Zidane only wants to talk about the team’s upcoming game.

“I’m not thinking about it, I’m focused on tomorrow’s game. The Champions League is back in April and we’ll think about it then. We’ve got real ambitions in that competition and we’ll give it our all, but the most important thing for the team is to follow the right path, and we’ve got another chance to show that tomorrow,” concluded the coach.

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