Benzema plays down Madrid exit rumours

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has dismissed speculation that he’s looking for a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 24-year-old has appeared to have slipped down the pecking order at the Spanish champions and has been linked with lucrative moves to France and England.

However, his recent comments on his lack of regular first-team starts signaled that the Frenchman was discontent in the Spanish capital. The impeccable form of Argentine Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo has seen him benched more often than he’d like under Jose Mourinho.

He’s scored just one goal in his 9 La Liga appearances this season and has subsequently been the subject of speculation that he’ll be headed for the exit in the New Year.

Big-spenders Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly the front-runners to land the striker who has made 54 appearances for his country and netted 15 goals. A return to France might seem like the most logical switch for the feisty forward but he insists nothing of the sort is on the horizon for him.

"I have no intention of leaving Real Madrid," he told French television channel TF1.

He also expressed his dismay in Spanish newspaper Marca at suggestions he has been underperforming for his national team, claiming concerns in the French media that he has been suffering a ‘goal-drought’ were “unfair” in his estimation.

It looks as though the striker will be seeing out his contract at Madrid, which expires in 2015.

He has scored 45 goals in his 103 appearances for the Spanish champions since his transfer in 2009 for a whopping €40 million.

He was reported offered to Premier League title holders Manchester City in the summer, following his underwhelming display at Euro 2012 for France.

The player’s representative Jonathan Hope claimed he had been in talks with both City and their archrivals Manchester United who had both enquired as to his availability.

“I have put Benzema forward after a talk with a very reliable and high source at Manchester City as a possible summer signing," Hope revealed.

“We are working closely to secure the exclusive mandate to obtain the paperwork firstly after a serious interest from the champions. We spoke with Manchester United two years ago and it went nowhere, which I can see is perhaps a regret on their part.”

He added,

“The player has stated himself he will not go to Manchester United, however, he has not ruled out a switch to join the champions.”

It’s hard to see United buying another big-name striker in a hurry – those comments were made before the arrival of Robin van Persie at Old Trafford - especially one who has publicly stated he'd rather play for City.

But rumours linking him with moves away from Madrid are unlikely to subside should he continue to spend large periods warming Mourinho’s bench.

image: © Jan S0L0

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