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Mundial de Clubes

Ligue 1

Real Madrid: Benzema offered Lyon return as player-coach

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas and sporting director Juninho are to offer the Real Madrid striker the keys to play out his career in France.

Karim Benzema is enjoying one of his most prolific spells at Real Madrid, currently leads the scorer’s charts in LaLiga and is gradually working his way up the charts at the Bernabéu, recently overtaking Ferenc Puskas in terms of league goals in Spain and moving up to sixth in the all-time list of Real Madrid goal scorers, six behind the Hungarian great and with Santillana in his sights over the next season or two. Even Alfredo di Stéfano is not out of the question for the Frenchman, who would then perhaps be spurred onward to Raúl’s 323 in all competitions.

However, Lyon may have other ideas about their former striker, whose contract at the Bernabéu expires in 2021. “Karim may be a possibility,” said the Ligue 1 side’s president, Jean-Michel Aulas, in an interview with BeinSport. “We talked about it with [Benzema’s agent] Karim Djaziri last year. During that time, there have been a lot of changes at Real Madrid. He has immense talent. Furthermore, he is one of the best players France has. For that reason it’s not possible at this moment. But if the opportunity arises tomorrow or the day after… Juninho has already said as much and, genrally speaking, when Juninho says he’ll get something done, it gets done.”

Lyon ready to offer Benzema coaching role

Last year, sporting director Juninho said that Lyon were looking at trying to bring Benzema back after selling the Frenchman to Real Madrid for 35 million euros in 2009. “I would like to propose to Karim that he finish his career with us. We have been chatting via text. I’d like him to come and play two years with us and to train some of the younger players. He can be a leader for us. It would be a dream for Karim to end his career at home.”

Benzema joined Lyon at the age of nine and came through the ranks, making his debut on 15 January 2005 and going on to score 66 goals in 148 appearances for the club. He has now been at Real Madrid for 10 years and is the last of the Galáctico reboot launched by Florentino Pérez upon his second ascendancy in the summer of 2009 after the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká and Xabi Alonso.

With a year and a half left on his contract, Benzema may be tempted by Lyon’s offer of a couple of years in Ligue 1 trying to overhaul Paris Saint-Germain, but he may also be aware that the longer he stays at Madrid the more he is embellishing his own legend at the Bernabéu as the team’s current mainstay in attack.