Karim Benzema gave an interview with Vanity Fair during which he discussed Real Madrid’s season, the criticism he has received from some quarters for his performances and his relationship with his teammates and Florentino Pérez.
What type of player are you? “On the pitch I am always thinking. It’s like I’ve got a computer in my head; before I touch the ball I need to see what everyone else is doing. The fans are the fans. That’s part of football.”
On Madrid teammates: "We don't go out for dinner. We're work-mates"
Criticism: “I play football and I try to help my teammates and to win everything there is to win. What I don’t like is when people attack me when I play well, even if I don’t score. I play for the people who value what I do on the pitch. Those that come to the stadium to whistle, let them whistle. I’m not going to change their opinion. People have always criticized great players. We sell newspapers. I don't need to read the press to know when I’ve have a bad game.”
Relationship with teammates: “We are all friends, but I can’t tell you that we all go out for dinner together. We are work-mates.”
Talent or hard work? “I have both. When I was 23, in Madrid, I realised that if I didn’t impose self-discipline on myself I’d have to go back to France.”
On Les Bleus return: "If they need me, they know where to find me"
Arrival at Madrid and relationship with Pérez: “It was a dream to meet someone like him. He’s very calm and very friendly. He asked me if I wanted to play for Real Madrid and I said yes. I gave him my word. And that’s how we’ve always been. He is behind me in the good times and the bad times. He is the club president, but to me he is also like a member of my family. That’s how I feel. When the Valbuena thing happened, after spending the night in a cell I was really down when I got back to Madrid. Florentino was waiting for at Valdebebas and he was very kind to me.”
What do you have to do to return for Les Bleus? “Me? Now? Nothing. I’m 30 years old and I’ve got two kids. I’m happy here. If they need me, they know where to find me.”
Why do you not sing La Marseillaise? “If you listen to the words, La Marseillaise is a call to go to war. That’s not something I like particularly.”