Benzema: “El Clásico is the best in the world even without Messi”

Karim Benzema insists that ‘El Clásico’ is still the best game in club football, despite the paritda of Lionel messi From Barcelona.

Benzema’s Real Madrid will visit the Camp Nou on October 24 (with live broadcast at 10:15 AM ET, ESPN +) to face a Barça team, ninth in LaLiga, after a turbulent start to the season for Ronald Koeman’s team.

Messi’s departure after that of Cristiano Ronaldo, from Madrid in 2018, coupled with the failure of Spanish teams to win the Champions League in the last three years, has led some to question the current level of the two giants of El Clásico.

“For me, it’s still the same. It’s still the best game there is in football,” Benzema told Julien Laurens of ESPN during an exclusive interview. “It does not matter which players are there, who have left or who are going to join. The rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona is historical. The names change but before they were [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, [Samuel] Eto’o. Real-Barça will always be Real-Barça “.

Real Madrid are LaLiga leaders, but lost their last away game against Espanyol, while Barcelona have only won once in six games in all competitions, including a 2-0 loss to champions Atlético de Madrid. before the international break.

That losing streak put Koeman’s job at risk before the coach finally received the backing of President Joan Laporta.

“There is never a good time to play against them,” Benzema said. “A team like Barça or any elite team can play a bad game and then recover. It is a game that we cannot take lightly, even if they haven’t played well so far.”

Benzema arrives at the El Clásico next weekend as LaLiga’s top scorer (nine) and assists provider (seven) so far this season, numbers that have placed him among the favorites to win the 2021 France Football Ballon d’Or. next month, which is awarded to the best player in the world.

“It has been a dream since I was young and also a motivation,” Benzema told ESPN. “The Ballon d’Or represents the best players in the world and it’s great to be on the list, if you look at who’s there, it’s very satisfying. It has always been a goal.”

The 33-year-old forward believes he is “not too far off” from winning the award.

“Yes, you could say that,” he said. “What I have done for the last three or four years to continue performing at a high level. When I play I don’t think about the Ballon d’Or. I think about helping the team win and putting on a show.

“The Ballon d’Or comes as a result of that because it is more of an individual approach, but it is about the collective.”

Benzema was on the score sheet with one of Madrid’s goals, Kylian Mbappé, when France beat Spain 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday, and they make no secret of their desire for their goal-scoring partnership to continue at club level.

“It’s great to see him, I like him a lot and he’s getting better in the matches,” Benzema told ESPN. “If we watch the previous game, we are getting better and better, he knows what I want and vice versa … Let’s see [si jugamos juntos en el Madrid]. Now, it’s great that we play together with the French team, in terms of Real Madrid, we’ll see what happens in the future. “