Zinedine Zidane defends Karim Benzema and insists French striker is ‘not tired’ after a frustrating performance in the win over Celta Vigo as the Real Madrid manager insists he will have to ease Eden Hazard ‘back to his best’
- Karim Benzema failed to register a shot on target in Madrid’s win over Celta Vigo
- Zinedine Zidane defended the striker, who has scored 12 goals so far this season
- The manager stated that Benzema was not ‘tired’ and that he felt he played well
- Zidane also stressed he is not going to ‘force’ Eden Hazard to return too quickly
Zinedine Zidane has defended Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema after he failed to impress during their 2-0 win over Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Saturday.
Benzema – who has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season – failed to register a shot on target and missed two good opportunities.
Nevertheless, Zidane felt the Frenchman ‘did well’ and insisted he was ‘not tired’ following criticism of the 33-year-old’s performance.
Karim Benzema (above) failed to register a shot on target in Madrid’s win over Celta Vigo
‘I don’t think he’s tired,’ Zidane said after the game. ‘I think he did well and I took him off so that another player could play. We’re in a great spell. We’re doing the right things and we have to continue like this.’
Benzema, a club legend who has netted 261 times for Los Blancos – making him their fifth-highest scoring player in their history – is in his 12th season in the Spanish capital and remains key for the team after signing a new deal this year.
Zidane also touched on the return of Eden Hazard after he came off the bench to replace Asensio with 75 minutes left on the clock.
However, Zinedine Zidane defended the striker, who has scored 12 goals so far this season
Zidane insisted that Hazard will return ‘little by little’ after suffering a string of injuries since swapping Chelsea for Los Blancos in the 2019-20 season.
On top of the three injury absences he has had to contend with this term, he was also ruled out for a chunk of November due to coronavirus.
He will hope to finally find some consistency and regular playing time following his stint of Saturday.
However, Zidane has made it clear he will be easing the forward back into the team to prevent further injury.
Zidane (L) brought on Eden Hazard (R) to replace Asensio with 75 minutes left on the clock
‘We are going to go little by little,’ added Zidane. ‘Little by little, you have to recover feelings.
‘We have to take it slowly and not force anything. He has to get back to his best and take it slowly. That’s all it is.’
Real Madrid’s comfortable win over Celta Vigo helped Los Blancos go top of the LaLiga table.
The result lifted Real Madrid one point clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, but Diego Simeone’s side do have three games in hand and travel to Alaves on Sunday.