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The French attacker is adamant the weight of expectation at Los Blancos is not a burden and instead believes it "brings out the best" in him

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema insists he thrives on being under pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The reigning champions of Spain have struggled to stamp their authority on a campaign which has seen them fall 16 points behind fierce rivals Barcelona, while rumours of fall-outs in the Los Blancos dressing room continue to circulate.

But the Frenchman says that the weight of expectation at Madrid has not affected his game, claiming that, if anything, it spurs him on to do better.

"Pressure brings out the best in me," he told AS. "I like it, because it is part of being a footballer, and at Real Madrid there is a lot of it about!"

The attacker, who has played an important role in the first couple of games for Jose Mourinho's side in 2013, admits it was crucial that he and his team-mates kicked off the year with victories against Real Sociedad in La Liga and Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey.

He went on: "We've started the year well, with two wins, which is important. Although the games were tough we played well and we won, which is fundamental."

Benzema also spoke about his country aspirations and said he is not thinking about the 2014 tournament in Brazil just yet.

He continued: "Of course, it would be a dream to win the World Cup with France, but first we have to qualify. If we do that, then we go to Brazil, where we will try to win it."

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