REAL MADRID-ATHLETIC

Zidane: "There is no debate over Morata or Benzema"

The Real Madrid coach says that both Alvaro Morata and Karim Benzema have important parts to play this season as calls for the Spaniard to replace the Frenchman get louder.

Zidane: "There is no debate over Morata or Benzema"
FELIPE SEVILLANO DIARIO AS

Zinedine Zidane has backed Álvaro Morata to play a big part for Real Madrid this season, despite continuing to keep faith in the off-form Karim Benzema.

Both forwards have scored three goals so far in the 2016/17 campaign, though Morata has bagged them in 91 minutes less and has largely had to make do with making appearances from the bench.

Calls for Morata to start 

Calls from fans and the media have been getting louder in recent weeks for Morata – who rejoined the club from Juventus for €30m in the summer – to replace the Frenchman in the starting 11 after Benzema has put in a number of lethargic performances.

Alvaro Morata (C) of Real Madrid celebrates scoring his team's fifth goal with his team mates Karim Benzema (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Real Madrid CF and Legia Warszawa

Morata was particularly impressive when he entered the fray for Madrid in the second half against Legia on Wednesday, making an immediate impact to set up fellow substitute Lucas Vazquez before netting himself to make the scoreline 5-1.

Zidane, however, says he believes there doesn’t have to a big debate between who starts and who doesn’t, as both players are “important” to the side.

"He’s going to be part of the team’s success"

“[Morata] contributes a lot and is an important player,” Zidane told a press conference before Real Madrid’s home clash against Athletic Bilbao on Siunday. “What I say to Álvaro is that it’s a very long [season] and he’s going to be part of the team’s success. Tomorrow you’ll see if he plays.

For me there is no debate over Morata or Benzema, they’re both important.”

Another player who’s been pushing hard for a starting spot recently is Lucas Vazquéz, who like Morata, has consistently made an impact from the bench.

Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez celebrates after scoring a goal. REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

Vazquez also pushing 

“He’s very professional,” said Zidane on Vazquez, who agreed a new contact with the club earlier this week. “He’s always happy. I love him as a player and a person.”

The 25-year old forward, however, may find it even more difficult than Morata to break his way into the first 11 this season. His main competitor for the right-sided attacking spot is Gareth Bale, who’s arguably been Real Madrid’s most potent force up front in a relatively underwhelming start to the season for the club’s first-choice BBC frontline.