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The Real Madrid boss has hailed the attacker's contribution to the Catalans, and also praised Karim Benzema for his good form

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has insisted that Lionel Messi remains a key figure for Barcelona even if he does not score as regularly as he did before his injury.

The Argentina international has not found the net in La Liga since his goal in Barcelona's 2-0 away win over Almeria in September.

However, Ancelotti has stressed that the forward still adds plenty to the Blaugrana's game in a slightly different role, too.

"I don’t know whether Messi has changed position," Ancelotti stated at a press conference.

"He has played well in recent matches and has shown that he is fit and has recovered well from his injury.

"He has not scored many goals, but he is still, as he always has been, very important for Barcelona."

The Madrid coach then went on to discuss Karim Benzema's fine form in recent weeks, with the attacker scoring three goals in his last four league games.

He added: "He is confident and is relaxed because he has played a lot of matches and knows that he is an important player for this team."

Benzema, 26, has netted 11 goals in 20 La Liga appearances so far this term.

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