Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has brought up the issue about Karim Benzema’s continued absence from the France team ahead of his side’s trip to Eibar in the La Liga. Benzema has established himself as one of the best strikers in Europe in a 10-year-spell at the Bernabeu but has not played for his country since 2015.
The Frenchman has not kicked a ball for France at international level since his alleged involvement in a plot to blackmail his former team-mate, Mathieu Valbuena.
Regardless, Zidane has admitted that Benzema is still eager to represent France, stating that he is the best and deserves a call-up to international duty.
“He’s always wanted to play for the French side,” Zidane told a news conference. “To be honest, I don’t know exactly what’s going on.
“But from a football point of view, he’s the best. I think he should definitely have a place in the French national team. It’s beyond my role here, but he should definitely be called up.”
Benzema reached the 50-goal milestone in the UEFA Champions League after the 6 nil rout of Galatasaray in midweek, surpassing Alfredo Di Stefano on the club’s all-time list. This prompted Zidane to compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo.
“His numbers speak for themselves. Those that like football know he’s a quality player,” Zidane said. “He’s important for the team, for attacking…he does it very well.
“The only thing that’s changed since Cristiano Ronaldo [left for Juventus] is that Karim is more mature. He’s a father and, well, many things have happened lately which are reflected on the pitch.
“I’m very happy for Karim. It’s true that he’s overtaken a legend of this club like Alfredo di Stefano. He’s now like Cristiano Ronaldo in the history of this club.
“He’s doing something amazing and we simply have to enjoy it and make the most of it.”
Meanwhile, Benzema insisted that he is not yet a club legend and vowed to help the club as much as he can.
“I am no legend. When I signed for the club I never thought I’d get to this point and I am so happy,” Benzema said.
“I try to help the team and be at my best, I want to continue to help. I feel very confident, if I can help my team-mates by talking to them out there, then I will, that is down to my experience in this club.”