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Benzema: "My life has changed..."

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema gave an interview to El País' 'ICON' magazine: "My shoulders are broad enough to carry the load, I never give up".

Benzema es portada de ICON, de El PAís.

Karim Benzema returned to training with Real Madrid yesterday and looks set to start Sunday's derby despite being doubtful for the past few days. On the eve of the game, he was the cover star of El País' ICON supplement. Benzema opened up about his childhood,, his family, joining Real Madrid and how fatherhood has helped him to mature as a person.

Does money bring happiness? “That's an issue that no one can agree on. Money helps with many things, but you don't need millions to be happy. When I was a boy, I had absolutely nothing. But I was happy. I could quite happily spend a whole day just kicking a ball against a wall and the garage door of my parents' house. I was a kid who lived for football”.

Friendship: “I only have one friend. That shows that friendship is very important to me“.

My father: “He was very demanding, but thanks to that I have a strong mentality, strong as steel. Of course I am very grateful to him. I am who I am today because of the education he gave me”

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Benzema, feeling lonely on arrival at Real Madrid

Arriving at Real Madrid: “I was only 21, I was on my own because family couldn't come with me. I usually spend a lot of time with them so it was difficult for me at the start”.

Social media: “Social media allows me to be closer to my fans. And to the people who love me, I have to share something other than football with them every now and again. That's why I post photographs of me with my kids. I'm a father, I have wonderful children and my life has changed. I don't think about what my life might be like in 10 years' time from now. The main thing is that my children are happy”.

Character: “It's not true that nothing affects me. I have feelings but I never show my weaknesses, even though I have them like anyone else. When I am down, I keep it to myself”.

Zidane: “He's like an older brother to me. Off the pitch, he's always there to give me advice”.

Cristiano's departure: “All I can say is that Cristiano leaving allowed me to take on a different role. He was scoring 50 or 60 goals every season and I had to adapt to his game. He is one of the best in the world and I was happy playing by his side”.

The Valbuena case: “You always have ups and down during your career and that was a low point for me. Everyone has to face up to challenges. My challenges are big, but my shoulders are broad enough to carry the load and I have the psychological capacity to handle it. I never give up”.

Music and cars: "Who doesn't love cars and music? Right now I am listening to Big Ben, a guy from my neighbourhood. It's been a while since I last listened to American hip hop but I don't know, their trainers are cool, I like wearing them”.

Image: “Why worry about your image when you are who you are? You have to like yourself, if you wait for others to tell you that they like you, then you don't understand anything”.

Pandemic: “I hope we are all out of this chaos soon. We don't like playing without the public, but we have got used to it. Seeing as we love football so much, we are happy just to be playing”


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