Sport Zidane hails Benzema as Madrid eye Champions League final
Zidane demands 'maximum intensity' from Madrid against Liverpool
Zinedine Zidane will not accept any let-up in Real Madrid's intensity at Anfield despite a tough week against Liverpool and Barcelona.Los Blancos claimed a 3-1 first-leg win in Spain thanks to two goals from Vinicius Junior and one from Marco Asensio, with Mohamed Salah grabbing an away goal for the Premier League champions.
Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane praised Karim Benzema but insisted he is not surprised by the star forward following his goalscoring performance as Los Blancos battled to a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals.
Benzema rescued Madrid on Tuesday – the Frenchman cancelling out Christian Pulisic's 14th-minute opener just before the half-hour mark in the opening leg of the semi-final tie in the Spanish capital.
Madrid's Benzema once again showcased his importance as he drew level with Raul as the joint-fourth leading scorer in Champions League history after netting his 71st goal.
benzema, more and more dropped by the blue
with on one side a karim benzema twirl and who undoubtedly lives one of the best periods of his career and the other an olive Giroud most often confined in A replacement role, the next confrontation between Real Madrid and Chelsea, in the semi-finals of the Champions League, will once again bring back the file of the absence of Benzema in the blues at the top of the battery. At least if he really left her ...
Only Lionel Messi (36) and Cristiano Ronaldo (35) have scored against more different opponents in the Champions League than Benzema (33, level with Raul).
Benzema, meanwhile, has scored six goals in this season's Champions League. In only one of his 16 seasons in the competition has he scored more (seven in 2011-12).
"Karim is amazing and I am happy for him, but I am not surprised for what he is doing every game," Zidane told reporters.
"It is the same with all of my players. They are the most important. They have done again a great effort tonight and keeping the faith in what we are doing.
"There are difficulties, of course, because we have an amazing team in front of us and they are Champions League semi-finals. We have suffered.
Video: Benzema has found the net against all 35 teams he's faced in LaLiga (Real Madrid)
Karim Benzema 'struggling' with after-effects of James Milner's tackle
Benzema has struggled to shake off any discomfort after Liverpool midfielder Milner careered into his ankle during the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final clash at Anfield. Marca have claimed that, as a result of the slight setback and Madrid's hectic upcoming schedule, Benzema will need to sit out a game sooner rather than later. © Provided by Daily Mail Real Madrid ace Karim Benzema is struggling with the effects of a big tackle from James Milner Zinedine Zidane was seen on the touchline devilishly grinning after a thunderous tackle on Milner in midweek - but may not be as positive now.
"But I am very happy for all of the players, because we are alive. We know we have to go to London and score goals in order to win the game."
Los Blancos were unable to find a winner in a cagier second half. They have faced Chelsea more often than any other side in all competitions without winning in their entire history, failing to do so in four matches (D2 L2).
Benzema's goal was Madrid's solitary shot on target against Chelsea. Only versus Paris Saint-Germain in September 2019 – when they had none – have they had fewer in a Champions League game since Opta began collecting such data in 2003-04.
Meanwhile, this was the only game in which Madrid have not scored at least two goals at home this season in the Champions League, though they have still scored the most home goals so far in the competition (14).
"We were much better in the second 45 minutes. We were much more organised. They started strongly and quickly, but I think it's a fair result," said Zidane.
"We wanted to press high one on one, but when you don't carry it out well, things are tough. Once we scored, we were better and controlled play a lot more.
"We're alive and we're going to the second leg with the idea of winning. In general, we're happy with tonight."
Madrid were without captain Sergio Ramos due to a calf injury but he could return for the second leg in London, with Zidane adding: "I wish he could be with us. I cannot tell you now.
"Sergio has not had any training with the group, so we are waiting for him. We wish he could be as soon as possible.
"All the players, Sergio, and the rest. Lucas [Vazquez] is a bit more complicated due to his injury, but also Ferland [Mendy], Fede [Valverde]. All of them. I want all of my players with me, sure."
Zidane got everything wrong – Mijatovic fears Real Madrid boss will pay for Champions League exit .
Predrag Mijatovic thinks Zinedine Zidane could face repercussions after Real Madrid's Champions League exit.Madrid were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea in the second leg on Wednesday as Timo Werner and Mason Mount secured a 3-1 aggregate win in the semi-final.