Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema has stressed that anyone who understands football should not criticize Paris Saint Germain forward Lionel Messi despite dip in form.
Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi are expected to be rivals due to the number of times they have faced themselves in El Clasico in Spain when Messi was still playing for FC Barcelona. But the 34-year-old French striker would not allow the 34-year-old Argentine forward to be disrespected.
Recall that Messi left FC Barcelona for PSG in August 2021 when the Spanish La Liga giants could not extend his stay at the club due to financial complications.
Though he has done very well for PSG in the UEFA Champions League so far this season, Messi has struggled to score as many goals as expected in the French Ligue 1.
So far this season, Lionel Messi has scored 6 goals and provided 5 assists in 17 games in all competitions, five of his total goals for PSG were scored in the Champions League. He has managed to score just a goal in the league for the French side this season.
Due to this, many believe that the seven times Ballon d’Or winner is struggling in the French league. But Karim Benzema who is currently enjoying the best form of his career at Real Madrid said Messi should not be criticized by anyone who knows football.
When Telefoot asked Benzema whether Messi would succeed at PSG based on his current form, the Frenchman asked “How is Messi not going to succeed?”
Karim Benzema who could play against Lionel Messi when Real Madrid face PSG in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 in France on February 16, said Messi is just in his adaptation phase at PSG.
“There’s no way he won’t do well,” Benzema said. “This is just a time where he’s adapting because he’s not scoring many goals.
“Look at what he does on the pitch, though. Anyway, you can’t criticize a player like that. Anyone that criticizes Messi doesn’t really understand football.”
Lionel Messi returned to football on Sunday, January 23 when coach Mauricio Pochettino played him from the bench in PSG’s 4-0 win over Reims.
The French Ligue 1 game was Messi’s first game in 2022. He just recovered from the dreaded coronavirus that sidelined him since December 2021.
Karim Benzema is looking forward to facing Kylian Mbappe
Meanwhile, Karim Benzema who has scored 24 goals and provided 9 assists in 28 games in all competitions for Real Madrid this season, said he is looking forward to facing his countryman Kylian Mbappe in the UEFA Champions League in February.
While noting that he wished Real Madrid was paired to face another club in the Champions League round of 16 instead of PSG, Benzema described the opportunity of playing against Mbappe in the encounter as “special”.
“Facing Mbappe? It’s going to be special,” he said. “We’re good friends. Let’s see what happens
“He wants to win and so do I… “We’d like to have been drawn against someone else, but we’re prepared”.
The first leg of the Paris Saint Germain vs Real Madrid UEFA Champions League round of 16 is scheduled to kick off at 21:00 at Parc Des Princes on February 15, 2022. While the second leg is scheduled to come up on March 9, 2022, in Madrid.
Karim Benzema best goals with Real Madrid ⚽️⚔️pic.twitter.com/RED1MprcH8— 🅩🅘🅩🅞🅤 (@zi_53) January 17, 2022