Gary Lineker has hit back over Real Madrid's "overreaction" to his comments about Karim Benzema's form, which was met with criticism from the striker and his manager Zinedine Zidane.
Benzema had said he was "embarrassed" for the former Barcelona striker and that he was "spreading hatred" after the France international managed only two goals in his first nine games.
Lineker's comments were then criticised by Benzema's manager Zidane but the former England star thinks that his comments were taken out of context.
The BT Sport presenter insists he has no problems with Real Madrid and further explained his opinions of Benzema.
"It has totally got taken out of context," Lineker said to Goal. "I had fun with it in the end but what happens is that the journalists go to the press conference, whether it is Zinedine Zidane or Karim Benzema and they’ll just say, ‘Gary Lineker has been critical of you, saying you’re overrated’.
"What I said in the tweet was a question. I said, ‘Is Benzema a tad overrated?’ I know he’s a very very good player and they take out that bit and say 'Lineker says you’re overrated'.
"I know Benzema has been a great player but I just put a question out there to say, 'Is he now still doing enough?'
"That’s my job, my job is to ask questions.
Is it me or is Benzema a tad overrated? A goal every other game in a team as strong as Real Madrid is nada especial. Decent not great. — Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 17, 2017
"Then it got taken out of context, Zidane says something, Benzema says something but I don’t mind at all. I understand how it has happened but it is a massive overreaction. We have opinions on football and I think Benzema is a really good player, he’s not a prolific goalscorer but I know he gives other things.
"He has an understanding with Ronaldo, etc. I get his talents and I watch Real Madrid and Barcelona every week, I hardly miss a game. They go, 'He never watches that', but yes I do! Even if I thought Benzema was rubbish, which I don’t, I would be entitled to that opinion too. It is football, we all have opinions.
"Fans have opinions about their own players and sometimes very strong negative opinions about their own players but as soon as someone from the outside has an opinion, they don’t like it. I understand that they want to protect their own and I don’t have a problem with it.
"I had fun with it for a few weeks and it was great," Lineker said with a laugh.
"It doesn’t affect anyone’s lives. I don’t take it as seriously as fans take it. I have massive affection for Barcelona but I don’t hate any club. I admire Madrid. I played for Tottenham and I don’t hate Arsenal.
"I played for Everton and I don’t hate Liverpool, except maybe for a bit when I played due to the competitive element. I have never had the hatred but other players I have played it have had it! It is not me to have that."
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