Hes one of the most underrated players in the world.
On Tuesday , the pitch at the Bernabeu will be full of star players, out of Kylian Mbappe into Neymar and Eden Hazard into Edinson Cavani – plus perhaps Gareth Bale – if Real Madrid sponsor Paris St-Germain at the Champions League.
However, that pre-game assessment by PSG boss Thomas Tuchel was not about any of these superstars.
It had been about striker Karim Benzema.
From Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo united Real for a # 80m commission in 2009 and Benzema has been approached to replace him.
The France forward refused the move and instead the two became team-mates because he joined the giants for # 30m out of Lyon.
A few years on, having been described asa tad overrated with ex-England striker Gary Lineker, how has Benzema outlasted Ronaldo and many others at the Bernabeu and will be his gift – and longevity – overlooked?
At a time after Barcelonas Lionel Messi and Ronaldo have taken the game to new levels with their figures as they fought for supremacy, the particular documents of Benzema have flown under the radar.
Real know victory over PSG will aspire to obtain payback for the 3-0 defeat at the reverse fixture and will ensure a spot.
However, it was in their past European match – a 6-0 thrashing of Galatasaray – in which Benzema, according to manager Zinedine Zidane, did somethingamazing.
His two goals supposed he became only the second player after Messi to score in 15 Champions League attempts – Ronaldo hasnt yet achieved the effort as he failed to score in the group point for United in the 2005-06 season.
Reaching the landmark of 50 objectives saw him ravaged Reals legendary striker Alfredo di Stefano in Europe, while just the two usual suspects – Ronaldo and Messi – and Robert Lewandowski (59) have scored over Benzema in the Champions League because 2009.
Just three days later, a double Eibar at La Liga took him on the one time list of Actual scorers, overtaking the other legend in Ferenc Puskas, also with 234 strikes he became the highest-scoring Frenchman at a foreign club – exceeding Thierry Henrys album at Arsenal.
Benzema has won four two Copa del Reys, two La Liga titles, Champions Leagues, three Uefa Super Cups and four Fifa Club World Cups .
Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez, Zidane (twice), Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari have come and gone while he has stayed constant.
Although big-money summertime signing Luka Jovic cannot get a look in, netting just once this campaign on the pitch he has seen off competition from the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Morata.
Benzema, can be La Ligas top scorer with 10 goals this year and instead, continues to lead the lineup that is actual; Messi in Spain betters only his entire of 25 strikes in 2019.
A senior club source allegedly explained in April,they have been criticising him for a decade and hes the greatest, while in September Benzema topped a Marca poll of most underrated players.
I feel the lack of recognition for his talents does get to him, says World Service Sports John Bennett. Back in January, LEquipe published their listing of 15 strikers because of the 2018 World XI.
Benzema was nowhere to be seen and he took to social websites, writinghello LEquipe, my buddies. Can I 16th? . Regrettably off-field controversies will most likely mean he never gets the credit he deserves, clearly in France.
Since joining in 2009 In addition to finding the net on a regular basis, Benzema has also been a supply of intentions for his.
Throughout this period, just Messi (140), Ronaldo (96) and Luis Suarez (84) have put up more goals in Europes leading five leagues than the 76 Benzema has.
Benzema has been exceptionally popular with supervisors as well as fellow players at Real Madrid for obtaining the most out of his own team-mates, adds Bennett.
You do not get many top strikers that are famous to be sporadically but Benzema is one of them. Hes a team player.
The Frenchman played a massive part in Ronaldos success in the Bernabeu, providing him more assists in La Liga than every other Real Madrid player.
His goalscoring album also stands up to examination. He also scored 30 goals last season in all competitions, a few he bettered in his second season at Real Madrid although yes there have been times.
Benzema works more difficult than he is given credit for, on and off the pitch. You dont reach his degrees of consistency without incredible fitness and never living your own life right off the pitch
He stays conspicuous by his absence from the France squad Regardless of his record at club level putting him one of the elite of Europe.
Benzema has more league goals than compatriots Antoine Griezmann and Alexandre Lacazette, as well as Olivier Giroud, who played in the 2018 World Cup but didnt score.
He has not played in 2015, a situation that was later dropped, a couple of decades 36, but he overlooked also the World Cup win and Euro 2016.
In this months international break the president of the French Football Federation Noel Le Graet indicated there was no way back by stating although Benzema has beena very good playerthat theadventure is over.
Bennett adds:His closing France match premiered in October 2015 but his name comes up during every international break, with many pundits from the country rueing that he can no longer play for the group.
It might be worth remembering he was criticised near the conclusion of his period at a France shirt for not playing too for his nation because he had been for his club but few would assert that if it was not for the scandal he would be starting ahead of Giroud.
Hed even have a World Cup winners trophy in his trophy cabinet