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August 3, 2021
Zinedine Zidane hails Karim Benzema as the greatest French striker in history

Zinedine Zidane hails Karim Benzema as the greatest French striker in history

Just Fontaine, Raymond Kopa, Jean-Pierre Papin, Eric Cantona, David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry are some of the most prolific and talented strikers to have graced the game.

However, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane — himself a World Cup-winning legend with the French national team — believes one is greater than them all: Karim Benzema.

The 32-year-old scored two crucial goals on Tuesday to give Real Madrid a 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao and move Los Blancos level on points with Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

“For me, yes,” Zidane replied when asked if Benzema was the best French striker in history. “In addition to what he does, what he shows, he has been at Real Madrid for a long time.

“More than 500 games, all the goals he’s scored, his record speaks for itself. For me, he’s the best. It is very clear.”

Benzema has scored 27 goals in 81 appearances for the French national team, but hasn’t represented his country since 2015 following an incident with former teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Back in October, Benzema hit his 250th goal for Real Madrid to move himself into the top five goalscorers in the club’s history. In 11 years at the Bernabeu, Benzema has helped the club win four Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles among multiple domestic and international trophies.

“He is a more complete player now than he used to be,” Zidane said. “He is not a pure No. 9, he doesn’t only think about scoring goals and that’s what I love about him,” Zidane added.

“He loves to combine with his teammates and create chances for them but he also knows how to score goals and he does that when the team needs him the most like he did today. That’s what Karim is all about.”