Football

Karim Benzema is one of the world's most underrated players

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Despite scoring 131 goals in 192 starts for Real Madrid, Karim Benzema is often overlooked whenever anyone discusses the top strikers in modern football.

Either Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez or Sergio Aguero are the go-to choice for modern football's best striker, with Benzema barely getting a mention.

If he continues to remain under the radar, Benzema won't mind one bit as long as he continues scoring goals. It's that altruism which makes him such a key figurehead for Los Blancos - without his selfless running and assists, Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn't score anywhere near the amount of goals that he currently does. Madrid can't work without Benzema.

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Perhaps the reason that Benzema is lost in the shadow of Suarez and Aguero is his unremarkable playing style. Whilst Aguero is dribbling past four players and shooting into the bottom corner, or Suarez is scoring scissor kicks, Benzema scores the kind of goals that strikers love to score.

The clinical finishes, close range tap ins and powerful headers epitomise his career - but just because his goals aren't as memorable doesn't mean they're less important.

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Benzema will often score the first goal in a 3-0 win, but his vital opener will be forgotten if Ronaldo or Bale score a screamer.

Luckily for Benzema though, although the fans may often not appreciate all the good work he does, his coaches are all too aware of the support he provides for the team. Benzema has seen several managers come and go in his time at Real - every one of them has picked him as a regular starter.

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In Ronaldo's shadow

As good as Benzema has been over the past four or five seasons, it's hard for anyone to stand out when their teammate is scoring 50 goals a season. The French international will love playing alongside Ronaldo, who wouldn't? But it's easy to wonder whether Benzema occasionally gets tired of always playing second fiddle to Ronaldo.

Benzema regularly scores over 20 goals per season, would that already impressive number be higher if Ronaldo wasn't in the side? Many at Madrid believe that Ronaldo's obsession with scoring goals leads to selfishness that stops his teammates from flourishing - Gareth Bale would probably agree with that.

Although there's been no public falling out between Benzema and Ronaldo, footballer's egos are very fragile, and without the right appreciation things can go sour very quickly.

How long will Benzema stay at Real Madrid?

It would be easy for Benzema to feel uncertain about his future at the Spanish giants when he is linked with a move away every season. The rumours may well be fabricated, but there's often no smoke without fire; the Madrid striker has witnessed first hand how ruthless Florentino Perez can be when it comes to transfers of his players.

If Madrid are to regain dominance in Spain once more, then they need to keep Benzema at the club. If he is happy and scoring goals, Real Madrid have a chance of catching Barcelona, without him their chances are non-existent.

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Topics:
La Liga
Football
Karim Benzema
Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo

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