Karim Benzema bagged a brace last night for the Spanish giants - something that Arsene Wenger, Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho may not want to hear.
'It was a bit of a strange and crazy match,' Carlo Ancelotti stated at a press conference last night. So crazy in fact, that Karim Benzema scored twice. Real Madrid beat Sevilla 7-3 at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, and for most, the game will be remembered for another Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick – his 14th goal in six matches against the Andalusian side – and Gareth Bale’s first two strikes at home in the famous white shirt.
Xabi Alonso came on for his first appearance of the season and Isco showed once again that, one day, he could be the best of the lot. But perhaps most importantly for Los Blancos and their Italian tactician, Benzema got back amongst the goals.
The France international has endured a difficult campaign so far under the new regime. Having not scored in the League since Granada away in August, the forward has come in for bitter vitriol from the Madrid faithful – even being booed off against Copenhagen in the Champions League.
The emergence of youngster Alvaro Morata hasn’t helped his cause either. But even when the capital native was left out of the squad for the Clasico, Ancelotti opted to leave out Benzema for a front-three of Ronaldo, Bale and Angel Di Maria.
That performance at Camp Nou though, shows just why the former Lyon man is such an important cog in the Blancos wheel. Without the 25-year-old, there is no focal point for the Wales and Portugal internationals to revolve around. He may not be on fire in goalscoring terms, but Benzema’s sheer presence up top allows whoever the wide attackers are, free reign.
The Bleus striker admitted earlier this month that: 'This has been the most difficult period of my career. It has been difficult for me, but I never stopped believing in myself. I never lost morale.'
With the brace last night then, it seems the front man may be back to his lethal-self. And that can only be bad news for the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. The Premier League clubs have been heavily linked with a move for the Madrid man in January, with reports in the British press earlier in October suggesting that Ancelotti could be willing to off-load Benzema at a cut-price.
His performance on Wednesday though, shows just what an important part he is to this Merengues XI, as the coach conceded to reporters: 'The combination play between the three of forwards was very good, and Karim scored two goals. They all played an important and were very dangerous.'
He might not be renowned for his work ethic, and can look like a passenger at times, but if Karim Benzema gets the best out of the two most expensive players in the history of the game, surely it’s worth it?
image: © Jan S0L0