Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has spoken in defence of under-fire striker Karim Benzema.
Reports over the past couple of days have suggested that the French international is currently unhappy in the Spanish capital and is considering his future.
The striker, despite only signing a new deal in the summer, has found his position under threat this season following the introduction of loan signing Javier Hernandez, and long-standing admirers Liverpool are said to be preparing a bid for January.
The Reds are currently suffering from the summer sale of former Kop hero Luis Suarez, with Daniel Sturridge out injured and Mario Balotelli misfiring, leaving the club short on goals.
Despite his early season struggles, Benzema has the full backing of his boss Ancelotti, and the Italian coach spoke of his importance following his contribution to Madrid’s 2-0 win over Villarreal.
“The key to the game was the second goal and Karim had an important evening, creating the goal for Cristiano,” he is quoted as saying by Inside Spanish football. “His work had a lot of merit even if he didn’t score. Sometimes it's better to pass.”
Before the game, the demanding Madrid fans participating in a poll voted for the former Lyon man to start the game from the bench – clearly underestimating the effect his all-round game has on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Whilst Benzema's not particularly seen as a Santiago Bernabeu crowd-pleaser, as long as he gets the best out of Ronaldo, it's doubtful Ancelotti will consider selling him anytime soon.