Benzema: I Have Always Dreamt of Winning the Ballon d'Or

Published October 23rd, 2021 - 05:31 GMT
Karim Benzema (Photo: AFP)
Karim Benzema (Photo: AFP)

beIN SPORTS’ exclusive interview with the second captain of Real Madrid, Karim Benzema, before the upcoming “El Classico” match between Barcelona and Real Madrid on October 24th.

Benzema discussed what it is like playing for the French National Team, how he feels about the possibility of winning the Ballon D’Or, how the upcoming “El Clásico” is the best game of football in the world, and what it means to be playing as a forward for Real Madrid, a position previously held by the great Cristiano Ronaldo.

Benzema, who has Algerian roots, follows in the footsteps of the legend Zinedine Zidane, and is among the best players in the game today at age 33. This year he is selected to the shortlist of players for the prestigious Ballon d’Or prize and has a real chance of winning.

Benzema on the French National Team

Question 1: We Start first by talking about the French National Team, and we congratulate you on the title you received during the UEFA Nations League. Being the most French player to receive titles and awards, what does this mean to you?

It is my first trophy with French national team, a lot of pride, and a lot of work and sacrifice to achieve it.
I said if I come back with France, it’s to win Trophies. I did it and I want to win others.

Questions 2: The last title you received playing with the French National team, was when you were 17 years old, against Spain’s National team in the year 2004, and as if history is repeating itself in this tournament, is it?

My last title with France was with U17 against Spain, I was 17 years old, now I am 33 years old, and the same accomplishment is repeating itself by us winning against a strong team like Spain.

Question 3: Karim, coming back to France’s national team this year, and then the Europa League and then the UEFA Nations League, we can say that it was a year filled with exciting news for the French National Team, did you foresee this at the beginning of this year (2021)?

I wanted to show my value and I had goals and objectives, to win titles for France, and I can say that I accomplished that today.

Question 4: Did you always believe in your return to the French National Team?

I always believed on my come back, first I am playing with Real Madrid, and if I play well with real Madrid, I will have the chance to come back with France national team, it always on my mind to come back.

Question 5: In the last two matches you played during the UEFA Nations League, it seemed that you were more in sync with the French National Team, do you agree?

No that was not the case, these games were different, the crowds were returning and we were feeling disappointed that we couldn’t proceed to more advanced matches in the league, but then we played in the final and the semi-final, and we were all focused and our main aim was to win.

Question 6: Tell us about the goal you scored against Spain’s National Team, where you didn’t even allow the Spanish team to enjoy the goal they scored?

We just conceded goal, and then Pogba passed the ball of to Mbappe, and he passed on to me, I didn t have a lot of time to think but I knew that I had to take the shot, and I already knew that I would score.

Question 7 Do you know that it was named the best goal of the Nation’s League?

Yes, I heard about it not long ago, but it was a really beautiful and important goal.

Question 8: Now tell us about the goal you scored against Belgium, going against 5 players?

It was a beautiful goal too and against a strong team, assist from Mbappe too, I didn’t need to see the goal, I knew where it was.

Question 9: In the same match you left the penalty to Mbappe, did that happen by chance, or did you mean on giving it to him?

I was supposed to shoot the penalty, but I wanted him to score, it was not planned before, it was to increase his scores and to boost his confidence.

Question 10: We noticed that you and Mbappe have been getting along very well lately, talk to us about that.

We are not used to playing together but, I had no doubt about it we will get along on the field, he is one of the best players although he is very young, and it’s very easy playing with these kinds of players, realizing fast what is going on around them on the field and taking the right course of action.

Question 11: You scored 6 goals in 7 matches, tell us about that?

Yes, it was a good come back in term of statistics, but it’s more important to play well and win trophies.

Question 12: What is your true role in the French National Team, taking into consideration your age, experience, and titles?

“On the pitch, I want to add something extra, to score, to help my teammates, and to do my best. I am always here to give any advice, in the dressing room, too, if anyone needs it”.

Benzema on Real Madrid

Question 1: Since we are here in Real Madrid’s dressing room, tell us what does this place mean to you?

Here is the best club of the World, the best stadium, am very happy to enter into this locker room, it’s lot of pride to play for Real Madrid.

Question 2: This season you are with Carlo Ancelotti again, how was your first meeting with an Italian manager and what is expecting of you this season?

His speech didn’t change he knows and trusts me and asked me to continue playing in my same style. He was my coach in 2014, he just asked me to continue entertaining the crowds on the field.

Question 3: Today you are Real Madrid’s captain, and this to you is a great source of pride, becoming Madrid’s captain after some very big names like Ramos and Raul, what does this mean to you? And what type of leader are you?

“I started to play here at 21 years old, I would never imagine to be captain one day. It gives me more force on the pitch, it’s something exceptional to be captain for Real Madrid. I can talk to the player as captain, but I am talking more on the pitch. I am trying to be an example on the pitch”.

Question 4: I am going to present you with some of the statistics that you have accomplished in your career, and tell me how you feel?

  • Foreign players with most important number of matches: it means a lot, I am proud of my way and my career, when I was young, I wanted to be at that level
  • Best number of assists with Real Madrid. I love to score goal, but I love also to give assist
  • Score during the last 17 seasons in UCL: it shows am continuing to be at the top level, UCL is very hard and Score for 17 seasons in a raw it’s very hard
  • Scored against the 35 teams of LaLiga he played against: it makes me want to continue
  • 200 goals in Laliga: I hope to increase this number.
  • Best French scorer with foreign club: everybody is talking about my statistics, but I don t look at it. I will look at it once I will stop my career .

Question 5: Tell me about Zidane’s role in your career with Real Madrid, especially during the time you were absent from playing with the French National Team?

Zidane was always there for me, to motivate me. He worked on my mentality, and gave me a lot of confidence. He was like a big brother and you can see that I felt good. There is a lot to say about him, he gave me a lot of advices…. I can t talk about him in 30 seconds.

Question 6: What did Zidane feel when you returned to the French League?

He was very happy and proud, he called me after the list.

Question 7: With the Classico closing in how do are you dealing with it?

The Classico is a big game, and all the teams have changed, the match will come with a lot of pressure, both teams have to win, we are confident and we will do our best.

Question 8: You have scored 10 goals in 36 Classicos, which match is your favorite?

My favorite Clasico was last year, because I scored and we won, (goal with heel) so it was my favorite goal.

Question 9: What would you say is your best goal with Real Madrid?

My goal against Osasuna and vs Velta Vigo 2 years ago.

Benzema on Ballon d’Or

Question 1: With you being amongst the 30 players nominated for this award, how does that make you feel?

Happy to be part of the 30 players selected, I have always dreamt of winning it, they say it as individual trophy, but I say it also a collective on, because if you win it one day, it’s also a win for your teammates.

Question 2: Will the statistics you accomplished with Real Madrid and the win you achieved with the French team, maybe put you at the forefront of winning this award?

They are good statistics, but what is important is how I play on the field. They may assist me in winning but I care about entertaining the fans and the tactics I use on the field.

Benzema on 2022 World Cup

Question 1: With the World Cup Qatar, closing up, what are you anticipating for this upcoming tournament?

“We have a strong team (The French National Team) and it is my wish that we qualify and I get to play in the upcoming world cup.”

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