MADRID: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised Karim Benzema as the best midfielder in French history after scoring two goals to beat Athletic Bilbao and then top La Liga.
Bilbao player Ander Capa equalized after Toni Kroos’ first goal before Benzema, 32, exploded twice after that, headed in a pass 16 minutes before the end and completed Luka Modric’s pass in extra time.
After that, Zidane did not hesitate to mention Benzema as France’s best central striker, in the list also included Thierry Henry, Kylian Mbappe, Jean-Pierre Papin and Just Fontaine.
“For me, he’s the best – it’s very clear,” said Zidane, the legendary French midfielder who won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 with Les Bleus.
“He has proven it – he has been playing for Real Madrid for a very long time, he has more than 500 appearances, all his goals … his record, what he has achieved here tells it all,” said Zidane.
Benzema arrived at Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009, but was overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo until the five-time Ballon d’Or winner moved to Juventus in 2018.
Last Saturday Benzema made 529 appearances for Real, he broke Roberto Carlos’ record with the most appearances for non-Spanish players. Benzema is also the club’s top scorer this season.