NATIONS LEAGUE

Benzema: "Younger players at Madrid see me as a big brother"

Karim Benzema (Lyon, 1987) is the man of the moment for both the French national side and with his club Real Madrid as he speaks to AS in an exclusive interview.

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Karim Benzema is one of the key players at the moment in the global game with the forward having bagged nine goals already this season for Real Madrid. The striker is also in fine form with the French national side linking well with PSG's Kylian Mbappé. As 'Les Bleus' prepare for Sunday's UEFA Nations League final against Spain in San Siro, Benzema spoke exclusively to AS. Here's a short preview of the full article which will be published early on Saturday morning.

Are you enjoying playing with Real Madrid this season, lining up with team-mates who could be going to university?

Football is changing and currently at Real Madrid, there are some hugely talented lads coming through and they will be the future of the club. They will have to embrace the responsibility of playing for Real Madrid, the best club in the world and one where expectations to win titles and not lose are extremely high.

Do you feel they look up to you as some sort of legend of the game?

I think they see me as a big brother figure and I'm always anxious to help them out as much as I can. I try and offer tips and advice and this is something I do both on and off the pitch. I do it with them all and even with Vinicius. They are young guys but extremely talented at the same time.

Are you convinced that the FC Sheriff game was a 'blip' and that Real Madrid are in no fear of slipping up in the Champions League?

We just need to put that game behind us as quickly as possible. As I said earlier, the season has just started and credit to Sheriff who played well despite having just two shots on target. We created over thirty scoring opportunities but it just goes to show that you can't take any game lightly and Real Madrid start every game as favorite.

Was the Belgium-France Nations League game the best of the season to date?

I'm sure it was one of the most exciting, no question about that. Both teams could have won the game and it was wide open right through to the final whistle. I'm convinced it will be one of the games of the season and it's great to think that it was enjoyed by so many as it all helps to grow the game.