Real Madrid defender Alvaro Odriozola has spoken glowingly about his teammate Karim Benzema, claiming that the Frenchman is the best player in the world in his position.
Benzema has taken a lot of flak in recent seasons for his lack of goals, with last season’s tally of twelve in all competitions being his lowest since the 2009/10 campaign – his first in La Liga.
The 30-year-old is already into double figures this season, with five of those coming in the league, and Odriozola – a summer signing from Real Sociedad – claims that he has grown to adore Benzema since arriving at the club.
“Before I came here, I already liked him, but now I’m in love with Karim,” the Spanish right back said, quoted by Goal. “It’s incredible to train with him. He’s the best number nine in the world.
“It’s true that there is criticism, but he has taken on a leadership role in the team.”
Benzema’s first goal against Viktoria Plzen last month was his 200th in Real Madrid colours, making him just the seventh player to reach that milestone for Los Blancos.
He has scored three goals and provided two assists in Real’s Champions League group stage campaign, with Santiago Solari’s side guaranteed to top Group G ahead of matchday six.
Odriozola has started seven games since Solari came in as manager, having only started three matches when Julen Lopetegui was in charge. However, he insists he bears the former manager no ill will.
“I have a lot more things to thank Julen for than to reproach him for,” said Odriozola. “The answer was to work more. Now, I have more games, I feel the confidence of Santiago and now I have to return it on the pitch.”
Real Madrid host CSKA Moscow – the only team to beat them in the Champions League this season – on Wednesday evening.