It was the event interview on the football planet. Friday afternoon, Karim Benzema was Zack Nani’s guest on his show Freewheeling Zack on Twitch, followed by an average of 45,000 people. From the Real Madrid training center, and for more than an hour, the Lyon streamer was able to question him on a multitude of subjects.
The hottest news being the World Cup, the striker projected himself on the event which he will play for the second time after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He repeated his desire to “make shine” the French team in Qatar (November 20 – December 18): “I want to do exceptional things, but I’m not going to do anything alone. It’s extraordinary, a World Cup. I approach it calmly, with ambition, always, but without haste. I don’t tell myself I have to win it. I’m not going to Qatar alone. On my side, I’m going to try to shine, to score goals and make assists. I can’t wait to play.”
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“The panenka against Manchester City? I’ve been thinking about it for a while”
Benzema will be one of the spearheads of the tricolor selection. The eyes of the whole world will be particularly focused on the recent Ballon d’Or 2022, author of an incredible year (50 goals, 16 assists). During the ceremony at the Théâtre du Chatelet, he had presented his award as that “People”. Questioned by Zack Nani, the Real Madrid player replied: “The people? It’s my journey, for the young people, for my family and my fans. Because I know they support me in bad times. When it’s not right for me, it’s not right for them. When I won, they won too.”
Bad times, he has rarely experienced during the last exercise. Under his leadership and his 10 goals in the final stages, Real Madrid won the 14th Champions League in its history. If he did not score against Liverpool (1-0), he nevertheless ensures that this final, played at the Stade de France, is his “preferred”. On the other hand, it was he who scored a panenka against Manchester City in the semi-finals. “I look at the score and the time. I had been thinking about doing this for a while, but I was expecting a big match like Zizou in the World Cup final. The weekend before, I missed two penalties . I had no pressure. I put the ball down and panenka”, he recalled in a burst of laughter. A little earlier, he had assured: “I knew I was going to win my team against PSG.”
Maybe a trainer, but certainly not a consultant
KB9 could not return to its European campaign punctuated by its 5th title. Of all the teams he knew in the White House, he retains a special fondness for that of 2011/2012 led by José Mourinho: Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Kaka… “The best”to his eyes : “The substitutes scored as much as the starters, everyone played, it was incredible and magnificent. We had everything. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the Champions League.”
At 34, the hour of retirement has still not come for Benzema. On this subject, the questions are linked. A return to Olympique Lyonnais, his training club? “I left a good image in Lyon, it has to stay like that. You can’t leave, come back. I did what I had to do. Lyon remains my favorite club. If I can come back work there one day, I will.” Cold shower, therefore, for the supporters of Les Gones, who will take comfort with the selection by Benzema of his first goal in C1 against Rosenborg like the “most significant of (his) career”.
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A future as a coach, like Zinédine Zidane? “I don’t know, but I would like to help young people, give them confidence and avoid the prism of statistics. Today, if you don’t score goals, you suck. The Zidane/Ronaldo era, this n It wasn’t just stats. You had more time to learn what football was.”
One thing is certain, however. The Real Madrid striker is not considering a conversion as a consultant: “Never! For me, you can’t disrespect footballers like these people do.”
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