Karim Benzema's longevity at the top of his game for Real Madrid is 'exceptional', according to his team-mate Raphael Varane, who has hailed his relationship with his countryman as inetegral to his development.
The 31-year-old, who notched up another brace for the club in Saturday's 3-2 win in La Liga over Levante, has been a standout member of Los Blancos' squad since his arrival in 2009, even if he has flown under the radar at times compared to big-name team-mates.
Having struggled in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons with only 16 goals across 61 appearances, the striker has rediscovered his finest form since the start of last campaign, and found the back of the net on 21 occasions last term.
Varane, who has a self-titled Amazon Prime documentary series launching imminently, has been reflecting on both his respect for his team-mate and on the pair's relationship following his arrival, with the World Cup winner having joined his fellow international in 2011 from Lens.
"We [Varane and Benzema] have a good relationship," the defender stated. "When I arrived in Madrid, there were two Frenchmen, him and Lassana Diarra.
"We have known each other for eight years now. We've had great moments together. We talk a lot. We talk a lot about football, in good and bad times.
"We have a very good relationship. He has more experience than me, so he can have a role of giving advice on how to approach things at the highest level and how to last that level because he's been at Madrid a while and his longevity is exceptional."
Unlike Varane, Benzema missed out on selection for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and has often seen his national prospects hindered by controversy, including an alleged blackmail plot in 2016 that saw him left out in the cold for the European Championships on home soil.
He was a four-time Ligue 1 winner with Lyon before he switched to Santiago Bernabeu, where he has triumphed at both domestic and European level.
Benzema has been named French Footballer of the Year three times by France Football and was the top assist provider in the 2011-12 Champions League season.
By Ryan Benson
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