Was Gary Lineker right about Karim Benzema all along?
Real Madrid have stuck with the Frenchman through thick and thin in the decade he has been at the Bernabeu but while people are talking about the end of Cristiano’s career at the top, should we really be considering Benzema’s place in the team?
The answer is yes.
The Frenchman joined Los Blancos in 2009 as a powerful 21-year-old striker to lead the front line with fellow new boy Ronaldo.
A glistening career in Spain unfolded as the striker helped the team to a Copa Del Rey and La Liga title in his first three seasons.
However, while Madrid have gone on to dominate Europe and edge ahead of Barcelona in the eternal tussle for the bragging rights in Spain, Benzema’s importance to the team has drastically declined.
But, manager after manager has kept faith with him by keeping him as the starting no.9 in Real’s strongest eleven.
Lineker called Benzema a ‘goal every other game’ striker and everyone lost their minds.
Now the goalscoring crisis that Benzema was enduring is only getting worse.
The three-time Champions League winner has played 54 matches for Madrid in the past year and has scored just 15 goals.
He’s also failed to get on the score sheet in 41 of those 54 games.
Zinedine Zidane has publicly backed the striker outlining that he does far more for the team than just score goals.
And Benzema is the seventh top scorer in the history of Real Madrid but six goals in 26 games this season, but crucially the crowd are starting to lose their patience with his lack of end product which normally spells the beginning of the end for a Galactico.
Seeing as Florentino Perez is the most ruthless man in football it comes as a surprise to everyone that Benzema has not been shipped out and replaced by a shinier, more prolific model.
The 30-year-old has only scored once in his last 12 games and found the back of the net twice in the league this season.
Zidane’s faith in the big man isn’t wavering but at what point does his place in the team become untenable?
Everyone knows Harry Kane is the top of Perez’s shopping list in the summer but can Madrid really go all the way in the Champions League while carrying Benzema.
There has to be a point where Ronaldo is put into the number nine role and Marcos Asensio takes his natural place on the left.
Yes, Benzema has started for one of the best teams in the world for the last 10 years but football moves on quickly and the more the pressure ramps up on Zidane he might have to make some difficult decisions.