Karim Benzema was the star of the show as Castilla thrashed Argentina Under-20s 6-1 on Tuesday. The 30-year-old scored four goals – matching his total in LaLiga for the season - after taking advantage of the international break to work on his finishing.
Benzema frozen out by France
Benzema is not part of Didier Deschamps’ France squad, and Zinedine Zidane has taken advantage of that to sharpen his striker in front of goal. Benzema has scored eight goals in all competitions this season, needing 60 shots to do so.
“If you like football you have to like Benzema,” Zidane said earlier in March, “he has to continue. He’s demonstrated across his nine years here that he’s very good. It’s not just me saying that. I like him a lot, but his statistics speak for themselves.”
Castilla appearance part of confidence-building plan
Zidane opts for Benzema in his starting line-up regardless of his physical condition. Last season, the striker acknowledged that he had been carrying a few kilograms more than previously. His record in front of goal was not entirely positive. The No.9 scored 19 goals (one every 170 minutes), but Álvaro Morata scored 20 (one every 93 minutes). Yet Morata was the player to leave the Bernabéu.
This campaign, with Borja Mayoral the only player competing for his position, Benzema’s potency has dropped. Zidane is trying to re-inflate his striker with confidence, and four goals on Tuesday will aid that, even if Argentina Under-20s were the recipients.