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Karim B. at Marca (and other news)

May 27, 2011

Marca traveled to Lyon, specifically the Hilton Hotel in the French city, to interview Karim Benzema, who’s spending a few days at home before joining the French national team.  So here are the highlights from the interview, along with some other pieces of news, since it’s really not worth writing a whole other post for those little bits and pieces!

You didn’t start the season with many minutes, so can you say you’re satisfied with your second year in Madrid?

I think, in the end, it’s been a good year.  It’s true that in the beginning it was complicated, I had some problems, but look at the results in the second half of the season.  I scored 30 goals between Madrid and the national team.  That’s why I believe it’s been a good year.  I knew that everything would come starting in January, when I began playing more and gained minutes and confidence.

Did we see the best Benzema at the end of the season?

It’s true that in the beginning, it was hard for me.  I was a bit overweight, with some physical problems… but when I was physically fit, everything went well.  I believe I can still do better, and that next year, we’ll see the best Karim, because I feel good both physically and mentally.

Was the benching against Barcelona in the Champions the most difficult moment for you since you came to Madrid?

It was a very complicated moment; I can’t deny that.  I was disappointed because we lost and because I couldn’t help the team, but the coach made his decision and I have to accept it.  You have to know how to recover from these kinds of blows, but what’s clear is that no one likes to lose a game like this one.

The Copa was some comfort, but you didn’t play in that final either.

The Copa is my first title with Madrid.  I didn’t play in the final, but I did play in important games such as those against Sevilla or Atlético.  We won and it was great.  Why wouldn’t I be happy even if I didn’t play?

Is the most positive thing from this season that you all no longer fear Barcelona?

We’ve always respected Barça, but there’s no difference between the two teams.  They’re very good and play brilliantly, but we are also very strong.  I think the equality between the two teams was seen in those last four games.  All of them were hard-fought and with a bit of luck we could have done much better.  To be precise, the referees didn’t help us, but you can only think about beating them the next time around.

Do you feel that Mourinho is especially demanding with you?

He demands a lot from me, but he’s made me a better player.  He’s a person that loves winning, and I am as well.  He’s made me grow as a footballer and as a person.  I would be worried if he didn’t demand the maximum amount from me.  That would mean that I don’t matter to him and that he doesn’t want me.

So you feel your coach has confidence in you?

People talk a lot, about whether he doesn’t have confidence in me, if he wants to sell me… but if you look at the number of games in which he’s played me, I think it will show that he does count on me.  If he didn’t want me, he wouldn’t have given me so many minutes, no?  In addition, getting playing time with Mou is something I have to do, it depends on me.  I know what he wants from me and I know that I can give it to him.  I have to show him that I can play on this team.

You seem convinced that you can win a spot on this Real Madrid.

I’m on a great team and I know it will be tough to earn a spot, but I can play in Real Madrid.  I repeat that it’s something that completely depends on me.

So you never thought about packing your suitcases?

No.  I have a contract, I love being in Madrid, on this team, I love the fans, the people, the stadium… I’m going to be here for many years.

How would you grade this year, in terms of how the team played?

We played good games, and we have to continue along those lines.  We scored 102 goals, more than Barça.  It’s a lot for a team that is supposed to be defensive.

Were you surprised by Cristiano’s 41 Liga goals?

That’s a lot, it’s not easy to get to that level.  I’m happy for him, he’s an excellent player because he scores many goals and helps others to score.  He and I understand each other very well.

Is it true that the players feel a bit more liberated because Mou assumes all the pressure?

Mou defends his players a lot, and prefers the press to criticize him, not his players.  We believe in him and we know that he’s always going to respond to us.

Have you spoken with Mou about your situation?

Some time ago, I went to speak with him, just the two of us, which is normal.  I wanted to know if he was counting on me, I was worried because I read things in the press that I didn’t like.  I have a lot of respect for him, but I think it’s always good to speak with the coach.  This is going to be my second year with him, I’m better, I speak Spanish better, I feel good and everything is going to go well.

Zidane may take over for Valdano, what are your thoughts on this?

We speak a lot due to the common language, he always keeps an eye on me and gives me advice.  He helps me.

What do you think about the support the Bernabéu has given you in the last few games?

If they’re supporting me, it’s because I’ve done well, and they’ve seen that I want to play on this team and that I bleed for them.

What title would you like to win next year?

All of them, including the Supercopa, which is the first one we have coming up.  I want to win everything.

Note to Fran Rico: you’re only on Castilla, so lose the beard.  Don’t forget, Castilla plays Alcoyano this Sunday at 19h in a must-win (and then some) game!

Benjamín B (you know, Theo and Marvelous’ team) beat Canillas 2-1 earlier this week (Theo scored a goal) to win their division, finishing with a record of 24-0-0!!  On their way to the championship, they scored an average of 10 goals a game!  ¡Increíble!  Anyway, the video below shows how they did it, as well as how cute they looked doing it.  I love Mario García’s haircut!  And they all sound exactly like their older counterparts (a very complicated game, we played a better game with the confidence of the coach, it was very difficult, etc.).  And the mini-kits are adorable as well!

And former Madrid president Ramón Calderón showed that his mental illness has progressed and gotten worse in these statements to “La Gradería” on Ona FM yesterday.  On Mourinho, he said, “right now, Mourinho may be acclaimed by the fans, but Hitler was also acclaimed by millions of people before he stumbled.”

And if that’s not enough, Calderón had this to say about FP and the dismissal of Jorge Valdano: “I feel bad for Madrid and for Florentino.  Yesterday, I had the sensation that I was watching a student take an exam for which he was unprepared.  He spoke so much about dysfunction that I almost expected him to start talking about erectile dysfunction.  That’s not anything I would wish upon him, because I want him to have a fulfilling sexual life.  The image he gave was pathetic.  He seemed to be a cadaver in search of a coffin.”

Speaking of coffins, Calderón drove the nails further into his own when he went on to say, “yesterday, it was confirmed that the president, despite the lack of an election, is a Portuguese named José Mourinho.  This is the first time that a subordinate has dismissed his superior.”  He also blabbed on about the new signings: “Sahin, Altintop and Callejón remind me of Pablo García, Gravesen and Cassano.”

He’s already apologized for these statements.  I guess he never learns, does he?  He really needs to think before he opens his big, fat mouth.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. Quis Custodiet permalink
    May 27, 2011 13:28

    “That’s not anything I would wish upon him, because I want him to have a fulfilling sexual life.”. Una, you are a legend.

  2. May 27, 2011 14:11

    This is why Sid Lowe cold Calderon President Tourettes. I think people with Tourettes should be insulted by the reference, really.

  3. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    May 27, 2011 14:30

    Calderon must be admitted, that’s all I have to say! what is he trying to achieve, goes beyond me.

  4. May 27, 2011 14:38

    Great interview with Karim. He seems to be much happier in Madrid, and he’s really mature in responding to questions about his rough start to the season. The pic with him reading Marca with the Valda-No cover feels awkward, though. I know it’s circumstantial that that was the cover for the day, but… Yeah.

    Hooray for the Benjamin B kids! And boo to Calderon–what a bad case of word vomit.

  5. blitzen permalink
    May 27, 2011 16:36

    That radio interview by Calderon is hilarious! I mean, I hate Mourinho with the heat of a thousand fiery nuns, but even I wouldn’t compare him to Hitler! Wow.

    He’s not wrong about who is in charge at Real Madrid, though. Mourinho holds a grudge for a looooong time and he has been working all season to cut Valdano out. Now he has what he wants, complete autonomy. If you guys don’t win anything next year, who will he have to blame then?

    I wish you luck with your new dictator!

  6. Tere permalink
    May 27, 2011 16:39

    i can’t believe that ppl compare Mou with Hitler .
    Una, keep posting everyday OK ? because i’m addict now 😀
    thanks

  7. May 27, 2011 16:46

    “We scored 102 goals, more than Barça. It’s a lot for a team that is supposed to be defensive.” – Karim, mon amour I LOVE the put down you just inserted in there.

    I was actually cringing while reading about Ramón Calderón. Just gag yourself the next time you want to talk to the press yeah. Idiot.

  8. Lynsey permalink
    May 27, 2011 17:21

    Didn’t Calderon also make some really racist statements about the French NT’s black players, made even worse bh thr fact that Marcos Senna played for the Spanish NT at the time?

    And really? Comparing Mou to Hitler? Good lord, this guy’s a real piece of work.

  9. LosT SpiriT permalink
    May 27, 2011 17:54

    I would love to see mourinho commenting about calderon’s crappy words

    because it is sad to see madridista(as he claims) speaks like a clue

  10. amouria permalink
    May 27, 2011 20:50

    Too bad for Calderon, yea, he must be embarrassed. And that was supposedly our president? such a shame…
    Karim? Lovely interview, but I still feel that it was in Spanish because all his expressions were predictable, no?

    Yes Fran Rico, lose your beard, its too early for our baby 🙂

  11. May 28, 2011 01:32

    “…I want to play on this team and that I bleed for them.” Bleeding eh?

  12. Liz permalink
    May 28, 2011 02:43

    Thought you might like to read this Una – Kay Murray’s end of season wrap up: http://bit.ly/kN0p8A

    Some cute moments with Jerzy Dudek in there 🙂

  13. DebS permalink
    May 28, 2011 03:32

    I really like Karim as a player. I too was a bit bewildered when Benz didn’t play in the CL or Copa del Rey, particularly when he has been in great form. And I agree, I think he and Cris really link up well together. I personally prefer it when Benz is on the field instead of Adebayor. I like the guy but I just haven’t seen the same output from him as I do from Benz. Who knows, maybe it was just another mind game by Mou to try and get Benz motivated or something? Guess we’ll see what happens next season.

    And how adorable are the Benjamin B players?! What a outstanding season they’ve had! ¡Increíble! is spot on, Una!

    As for Ramón Calderón’s comments….there are no words…other than “wow!”. Hitler, really? smh

  14. May 28, 2011 04:38

    no srsly, does Ramon Calderon ever learn? i can’t believe there are actually fans who like him.

  15. KDJ permalink
    May 28, 2011 09:11

    “Is it true that the players feel a bit more liberated because Mou assumes all the pressure?

    Mou defends his players a lot, and prefers the press to criticize him, not his players.  We believe in him and we know that he’s always going to respond to us”

    I really love this part. This is what I always believe of Mou. At least some part of him. You can see how our players are much more relax, even under scrutinize eyes of the media. Mou takes all the flame and gives our players a much more needed space, especially with the 5 El Classico. Hoping for an amazing next season! Hala Madrid!

    • DebS permalink
      June 1, 2011 04:03

      I love that abou Mou too. Others love to believe that Mou does it to get attention for himself and not to relieve pressure from his team. But clearly, Mou is a very clever guy who knows all the drama that the media causes and how that impacts his players.

      Mou does what he has to in order to get the best out of his players both at practice and during the games. It really is a brilliant strategy. Madrid is lucky to have Mou.

  16. May 28, 2011 10:44

    Fran Rico, I couldn’t take my eyes off him and I see lots of potential 😀 its just that I imagined getting a razor and shaving that beard off.

    The kiddies do sound like the big guys!

    Regarding Calderón, what can I say that hasn’t been said a million times now, he should just stop talking to the media if he has such a bad case of talking vomit or he should walk around with a tape on his mouth just in case he forgets.

    • May 28, 2011 10:48

      On another note Una, have you seen what is supposed to be next year’s goalkeepers shirt? My eyes were bleeding. Believe me you wouldn’t want to put that on the side of your blog. I don’t even think Iker can pull it off.

      • May 28, 2011 12:17

        I think I’ve seen it, and I hope it’s not real. Even Iker designing something himself – and we all know what kind of taste he has – would be better.

        • May 28, 2011 13:13

          We *know* what Iker would come up with if he had anything to do with the design. It would be plaid of course.

          That being said, the gk’s uniform makes me want to just close my eyes. What on earth were the design team smoking when they came up with this mess?!!

  17. Buckhum permalink
    May 30, 2011 07:38

    Can you post some updates on the Aguero speculation?

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