AMÉRICA 0-2 REAL MADRID

Benzema: "I've only had two or three bad games, that's it"

The French striker, who has returned to form with three goals in his last two games, insinuated that the criticism he's received from fans this season has been slightly unfair.

Karim Benzema.
YUYA SHINO EFE

Real Madrid - Kashima Antlers, Club World Cup Final 2016

Karim Benzema hopes to have put the criticism he’s suffered this season to bed after scoring three goals in his last two games, including a classy finish that helped Real Madrid beat Club America on Thursday and put his side into the FIFA Club World Cup final.

Benzema back on form

Benzema opened the scoring in Yokohama in first-half stoppage time when he latched on to Toni Kroos' through ball to fire past Moises Muñoz. That strike comes after the two he netted against Dortmund in the Champions League last week, indicating that the Frenchman has finally returned to form after a patchy start to the season.

Karim Benzema celebrates scoring a goal during the FIFA Club World Cup Japan semi-final match between Club America v Real Madrid

However, following the win in Japan, the forward insinuated that the stick he’s had to endure from supporters has been slightly unfair given that he’s now scored nine goals in total this season, more than fans’ favourite and direct rival for a starting spot, Álvaro Morata.

Squad competition

“I’ve only had two or three bad games and that’s it,” said Benzema. “There’s competition on all sides. Not only Karim against Álvaro [Morata].”

Many of the Madrid faithful have called for Benzema – Zidane’s first choice centre forward when fit – to be replaced by Morata in the starting lineup since September, although both have had an injury-hit first half of the campaign.

Benzema embraced Zinedine Zidane after his goal

“He’s a good, young player who helps the team,” Benzema said of his teammate. “[Criticism] is normal. When I hear bad words, I try to train harder. I’m fine now, thanks to Zidane.”

"Zidane's like my brother"

Indeed the Frenchman’s appreciation for his coach was obvious to see following his goal against Club America. Benzema ran straight over to Zidane and embraced his compatriot in celebration.

“Zidane for me is an example,” he said. “He’s like my brother, but is also my coach and it’s an honour to work with him.”