Benzema missed Madrid’s La Liga victory over Espanyol on Saturday due to an ankle injury, but he is expected to return to face Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday in a last 16 second leg match.
Real Madrid’s Champions League victory has been greatly aided by Karim Benzema, but it is unclear if they can continue to rely on him to dominate Europe this season. Without Benzema, whose season has frequently been disrupted by the French striker’s injuries, defenses can focus on stopping Vinicius Junior, despite the Brazilian winger being a dangerous threat on the left. Because neither the player nor the club have officially decided to extend his contract, which expires in June, his future at Madrid is also in doubt.
Real Madrid’s head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, said, “Legends of this club have to stay at Madrid,” hoping to have the forward available to him in 2017.
The 35-year-old has frequently missed games, including the World Cup with France due to a quadriceps injury.
When Benzema was sidelined for the eighth time last week, Madrid daily AS reported that “something is wrong with Benzema.” Never in his entire career had Benzema spent so much time in the injury room.
The forward has missed 14 games this season, or 34% of Madrid’s games across all competitions, but he has tallied 18 goals in the 27 games he has played.
The disappointment and great mystery surrounding Karim have lasted for months, AS added.
Captain and champion Benzema has matured like a fine wine, developing into a world-class goalscorer after being released from playing on the periphery when Cristiano Ronaldo departed Real Madrid in 2018.
Last year, Benzema led Real Madrid to a record 14th victory in the Champions League with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the championship game.
In Madrid’s wild journey to Paris, Benzema was a key player, netting a remarkable 17-minute hat-trick in the round of 16 to defeat Paris Saint-Germain.
The club’s chances of winning the title again this year rest with Benzema, who raises concerns with each new setback.
Some people think that he has been holding out for the team’s greatest games and the most important European dates on purpose, and that this has hurt his performance.
Ancelotti predicted a different Benzema in 2023 in late December, but it hasn’t happened yet. “I see a very motivated Benzema,” he said.
Getting Benzema back to his best is crucial for Madrid to succeed in Europe once more and capture a fifth Champions League trophy in 10 seasons.