Benzema eyes Liga title with Real Madrid after Champions League dejection

The France international has confessed that Los Blancos' semi-final European elimination came as a bitter blow but insists that Jose Mourinho's men are already over it
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has admitted that he and his team-mates were left feeling "dejected" after their Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, but assured that they are now ready to put their disappointment behind them by clinching La Liga.

Los Blancos suffered an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat against their Bavarian rivals last week in the semi-finals, but they bounced back with a victory over Sevilla on Sunday and will be crowned champions of Spain if they defeat Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Wednesday evening.

"We got to the semi-final with high hopes and were so close to the final, but these things happen," Benzema mused in an interview with AS.

"I think we have learned from it, though, and now we need to win the league to get over the disappointment.

"It is now very close and we must be happy about that because from early on in the season, the league was our priority.

"On Wednesday and Thursday nights after the Bayern defeat, we were all sad and dejected by our elimination, but this sadness has now been put to one side."

On a personal level, Benzema admitted that he has been buoyed by his fine form this season after initially struggling to settle in the Spanish capital following his arrival from Lyon in 2009, believing that he is finally in peak physical condition after being plagued by fitness issues in recent years.

"This is my time," the France international declared. "Scoring goals, providing assists ... I have none of the physical problems that have held me back [previously].

"It is true that this season I played more than the previous two, and I'm happy about that."

Consequently, Benzema admitted that he is looking forward to spearheading France's attack in Euro 2012.

"I am in optimum condition for the big tournament," the striker stated. "After the end of the league season, will have a few days off before going to the Euros.

"But it's not yet time to think about it. I am focussing only on winning the league with Real Madrid."

Madrid's crunch clash with Athletic in the Basque country gets under way at 22.00CET.

Starting last month and continuing for 10 weeks, is publishing exclusive extracts from Luca Caioli's new book, Ronaldo: The Obsession for Perfection. The sixth extract, published on Friday, looks at his display for Man Utd in the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow, including the Portuguese's missed penalty in the shoot-out. Don't miss it!