REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: Benzema deal a priority with PSG, Lyon offers

The Frenchman's current contract expires in 2021 and while both parties are keen to extend it, interest from Ligue 1 has the Bernabéu concerned.

Karim Benzema celebrated his 32nd birthday recently and now the Real Madrid striker’s attention will turn to a contract extension at the Bernabéu that will ensure he hangs up his boots at the club he joined from Lyon for €35 million in 2009.

Madrid and particularly Zinedine Zidane are more than happy to accommodate Benzema, whose current deal expires in 2021. The only question is how long the extension will be. Real have tabled an offer until 2023, which would take Benzema up to his 35th birthday and probable retirement as a Real Madrid player, but the Frenchman is apparently considering suggesting an extra year on his current deal with the option of another if he feels he is still performing at a level high enough to warrant it.

What is certain is that Benzema has stepped into the boots of Cristiano Ronaldo and assumed the goal-scoring mantle for the side as well as adding greater leadership and maturity to the side. It was expected Gareth Bale would step up when Ronaldo departed for Juventus but the Welshman has failed to live up to his heir-apparent status, scoring just twice this season in all competitions while struggling with injury.

Benzema at his peak after taking Ronaldo's mantle

Benzema by contrast has 16 to his name this campaign and is tied with Leo Messi in the race for the Pichichi award as LaLiga’s top scorer with 12 in domestic competition. Since the departure of Ronaldo in the summer of 2018 Benzema has bagged 46 in 75 games - it would be more were it not for Sergio Ramos assuming penalty taking duties - and is currently enjoying one of his finest spells during his decade at the club.

While there is no particular hurry on the part of either side to get Benzema to ink his name on a new contract, Madrid are aware that the Frenchman’s Indian summer has not gone unnoticed in Ligue 1. PSG are in the market for a striker to replace Edinson Cavani, who is seemingly set to leave at the end of the season when his contract expires. Mauro Icardi has ousted the Uruguyan with his incredible scoring form at the Parc des Princes but the Argentinean is on loan from Inter and will cost €70 million if PSG want to make the move permanent. At 32 and with a year left on his current deal next summer, Benzema will make an attractive target for the Ligue 1 big spenders.

There is also Lyon to consider. Benzema’s formative club have publicly invited him to return, offering him a player-coach role in an attempt to lure him back to the Groupama Stadium.

However, Benzema’s status as the team’s third captain, its attacking spearhead and his untouchable role under Zidane suggest the striker will remain at Madrid at least as long as his mentor does and while his position remains unaltered. The only question is for how long, and when the deal will be finalised.