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Karim Benzema at AS

January 3, 2011

AS also brings us an interview with Karim Benzema today (it’s their cover story).  They say that he talked about everything, and didn’t shy away from anything (it also appears that all this talking took place in French).  AS also provided Karim with a Pedro del Hierro suit for the photoshoot.

Q:  How did you spend your vacation?

A:  I had a good time with my family in Lyon, in France, and with all my friends.  It was great returning to my country, and I was very happy to be able to spend time with my entire family.

Q:  For you, for your religion, the Christmas break is a vacation…

A:  Yes, for me it’s different because I’m Muslim, but I respect this holiday a lot.  Look, I have younger brothers and sisters, so I buy them Christmas presents and we eat together as a family.

Q:  Did you disconnect from football during these seven days?

A:  I love football, so I couldn’t forget about it.  I did disconnect a bit, for two days, but the rest of the time I was active.  I didn’t play football, but I did try to stay in shape.

Q:  Last Thursday, the training session was open to the public and 5,500 people showed up!  That’s never been seen before!

A:  It surprised everyone that there were so many people.  It was a nice gesture from the fans towards us, since it was raining and cold.  I think it going to see Madrid was a nice Christmas present.

Q:  What is Benzema going to be like in 2011?

A:  (Laughs) Better.  The first thing I hope to have is health and after that, to continue like I was in 2010, because I haven’t started consecutive games in a long time.

Q:  What objectives have you established for this year?

A:  A lot of good things.  I’ve been here for a year and a half and I hope to do many things, such as offer entertainment to the people.  In Madrid, people like watching spectacular football.

Q:  Why are you so irregular?

A:  That’s football.  Sometimes you have luck and score and other times you don’t.  The important thing is that I’ve recovered my speed and legs, but I can’t assure anyone that I’m going to score three goals in each game, but I can do everything possible to try and score at least one a game.

Q:  When Mourinho came, what did he tell you that he wanted from you?

A:  He’s made me work a lot mentally, on the mental part of my game, and I can say that now I’m stronger in this aspect.  I’ve had many ups and downs since I arrived in Madrid, but I’m still here.

Q:  He’s been tough with you…

A:  Well yes, but things are like that.  From my childhood, the coaches I’ve had have always been tough with me and that’s why I made it to here.  Mourinho is a great coach, and it’s better that he’s behind me, supporting me.  I’m here to work.  After that, on the field I try to do things well.

Q:  Did you feel punished by the coach?

A:  I never felt punished by anyone.  I know when I play well and when I don’t, and if in a certain moment I’ve played less it’s because I didn’t make enough of an effort to deserve it.  Now I know that I’m making an effort and that’s why I’m playing.

Q:  When you came to Madrid, you didn’t speak with anyone.  Has that changed?

A:  I speak a lot with the players.  It’s true that in general I’m quite timid, but I think that when people get to know me, they find out that I like to have fun and that I’m always laughing, but when I don’t know the person I stay in my corner.  I also speak with the coach.  I like to have fun with him and with my teammates.

Q:  What is your reaction when people say you’re not strong enough for Madrid?

A:  That’s what the press and some people say.  They say bad things about me.  In any case, I’m 23 years old, I’m in one of the grandest clubs in the world and I know that I have the standard to play here.

Q:  Do you think you’ll end up earning the right to stay for the time you’ve signed for?

A:  Yes, that’s my objective.  I signed for six years.  I knew in the beginning that it would be difficult, but right now things are beginning to go well, perfectly.

Q:  You’re the apple of Florentino’s eye.  He went to your house to sign you and he’s your biggest supporter…

A:  (Laughs) Yes, I know that he loves me a lot and it’s reciprocal.  I also value him a lot.  He’s always supported me, and when things aren’t going well, he calls me.  He’s someone that I respect a lot.  I would like to return this confidence in me on the field, like I’ve been doing lately.

Q:  And Zidane?  Now that he’s working more closely with the team, does he say anything to you?  Help you?

A:  Zizou is one of the best players in the world and he speaks a lot with me.  That’s great for me because before we didn’t speak a lot.  It’s always good to have someone like that to lean on and talk about football and your life.

Q:  So it’s good for you to have him closer?

A:  Of course!  He speaks French.  When there’s something that I don’t understand, I ask him.  The most important thing is to be well on the field, but it’s true that he gives me a lot of advice.

Q:  You’ve notched hat tricks against Auxerre and Levante.  When will you do something like that against a big team?

A:  I need to play consecutive games.  Right now, I’ve played four in a row, and I’ve scored six goals.  I know that when I have continuity, I’ll have more confidence and I’ll start to score more goals.  The day I score a hat trick against a big team I’ll call you (laughs).

Q:  Are you taking advantage of Higuaín’s absence?

A:  Football is like that.  Sometimes players get injured and the rest have to take advantage of that.  It’s been said that we compete against each other.  He’s a teammate to me.  It’s true that he’s injured and that’s why I’m playing more minutes, but I also have to prove that I can play.

Q: Which teammate do you have the best connection with on the field?

A:  Cristiano.  He’s a great player who breathes football, who knows football.  The rest are also good, but when I have the ball, or when he has it, we find each other quickly.  I find him because I know that he can invent something in an instant.

Q:  How does Cristiano help you out?

A:  He speaks often with me about football.  That helps us to understand each other better.  He’s someone that I value a lot.

Q:  Is this season like a new start for you?  Mourinho came, you’re playing with France again…

A:  Yes.  I’ve started scoring goals, I’ve found my game again, I’m giving assists and scoring, and that’s what I like.  And with France, I’m starting and the coach is supporting me.  Things are going along these same lines with Madrid, and so I have a lot of hope invested in this year.

Q:  What does your family say?

A:  They support me, even when things don’t go well.  They’re my biggest fans.  When things go badly and I’m criticized, the only person who tells me that I’m playing well is my mother (laughs).

Q:  How is your Spanish?  Has improving it helped you to integrate more?

A:  It’s a lot better.  If you speak slowly with me, I can talk a little.  I prefer to talk to my teammates rather than a professor.  My integration is going well.

Q:  What are your wishes for 2011?

A:  Health.  The most important thing is health.  And a lot of good things, happy things, and for everyone to be happy.  And to go to Cibeles.  I’ve passed by there many times in my car, but I want to go there to celebrate titles.

Q:  After a year and a half in Spain, it seems that people still don’t know the real Karim.

A:  It’s true.  I think people haven’t gotten to know me sufficiently because I’m timid, introverted.  It’s also part of my character:  I’m reserved, and I can’t change that even if I wanted to.

Q:  Against Levante in the Copa, you and Cristiano both scored hat tricks, but you had the nice gesture of giving the ball to Morata.

A:  Yes.  Morata is young and also a bit timid and I wanted everyone to sign it so that we could give it to him.

Q:  Do you think he could play on the first team?

A:  Of course.  He’s young and he hasn’t played in any big games yet, but he’s a good footballer.  After that, it’s the directors and the club that have to decide if that’s enough.

Q:  Karim, happy new year and good luck.

A:  Thank you very much.  And to the fans of Madrid, thank you for being so great with me.  I’m going to do everything possible to return your support by scoring a lot of goals.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. amouria permalink
    January 3, 2011 10:24

    if he becomes more aggressive and speedy, he will be another zidane, believe me.

  2. Marshmallow permalink
    January 3, 2011 10:50

    “You’re the apple of Florentino’s eye. He went to your house to sign you and he’s your biggest supporter…”
    I didn’t know that! hahaha.
    I had a feeling he was shy! 😉 (not with the reporters though!)

  3. IsaBella permalink
    January 3, 2011 12:49

    I had actually no idea that Karim was Muslim 🙂 what an ignorant fan, no? 😉 anyway I hope that he scores as many goals as possible as he’s the only real forward we have right now…. I didn’t like him at the beginning, considering what I heard abt his lifestyle and his arguments with Mou, and from what I saw on the pitch (I couldn’t understand why RM signed him in the first place). Now I think he improved a lot and I keep my fingers crossed for his health 🙂 I wonder how he will cope with a new striker that RM are supposed to sign 🙂

    • Ghiz permalink
      January 3, 2011 16:40

      Karim is Muslim from Algerian origin he was born in France though and play for their NT ..and you should watch his videos from the time he was playing for Lyon he is very good,but i think the pressure in Madrid was so much for him to handle ..i hope he scores a lot of goals and work harder cuz i really don’t want him to live madrid 🙂

      • IsaBella permalink
        January 4, 2011 10:25

        oh thanks 🙂 just like Mesut Ozil is a Muslim because he’s really Turkish (though he was born in Germany 😉 I do believe that Karim is a good player, I just didn’t know abt that before I guess…. 😉 anyway I hope he does well and I wish him all the best 🙂

  4. January 3, 2011 17:14

    FINALLY!
    Its almost like he has been hiding the fact that he’s muslim and didn’t really want to share it with anyone!!!
    Good for him!

  5. bbBenz permalink
    January 4, 2011 19:25

    what a great guy. i wish you good health and bless with many goals Karim! “the only person who tells me that I’m playing well is my mother” aww cute:)

  6. kewen permalink
    March 19, 2011 09:25

    i love u karim…………
    you are the best in the world…………

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