Benzema: “Whoever criticises Messi doesn’t know anything about football.”

Karim Benzema conducted an interview with Téléfoot in which he spoke about how the team has been performing so far this season, the Champions League last 16 tie with PSG and how he is looking forward to facing his friend Kylian Mbappé. Here’s the interview in full:

Madrid and Real Madrid: “Madrid is everything to me. I became a man here. I feel really at home in Spain, the lifestyle is perfect, everything is good for me. When you join a club like Madrid, you never imagine that you’ll still be there for 15-20 years; more than anything you think that you’d like to win trophies as soon as possible, because it’s the biggest club in the world.”

The importance of winning: “Finishing 4th, 3rd, 2nd or 30th… it’s all the same, what counts is winning. Sometimes that means winning trophies, sometimes it’s about scoring goals, it changes every year. For me, the Ballon d’Or is for players who carry their team, score during difficult moments and winning trophies.”

Winning the Ballon d’Or in 2022: “My chances of winning the Ballon d’Or in 2022? Why not? We could set it as an objective, but I will do everything possible to play better than I did last season.”

When Cristiano Ronaldo left: “I learned a lot from Cristiano, so that I was prepared for when he left. Whenever I wear the captain’s armband, it pushes me to lead by example. It’s a huge honour for me.”

Last 16 tie against PSG: “The game’s getting nearer, am I getting excited? It’s a Champions League game. We know that Champions League matches are always complicated. I would have liked to have faced another club. Unfortunately, we drew PSG.”

Lionel Messi: When talking about the last 16, Benzema defended Leo Messi when they asked him about his lack of adaptation and lack of goals at PSG. “Messi just needs time to adapt. Look at what he does on the pitch. In any case, you can’t criticise a player like that. Whoever criticises him doesn’t know anything about football.”

Facing Mbappé: “It’s more than special because we really get along well. For many reasons it’ll be nice. I want to win and he does too. But yes, it’s going to be special. And of course It’ll be a great game.”

Support from Madrid fans: “Hearing the fans chant my name before the Ballon d’Or or singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me… those are things that really move me – it pushes me to keep playing well out on the pitch.”

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