Sanchez challenges Benzema to up his game

The former Mexico ace says the Real Madrid striker can no longer coast on his natural ability, and calls on him to show more mental fortitude to overcome his bad run

Hugo Sanchez has warned Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema to end his goal drought or risk being replaced as the starting striker.

The 25-year-old has failed to find the back of the net in his last five competitive outings for los Blancos, while his barren run for France has stretched to 1217 minutes of international football.

And while Sanchez believes Benzema possesses the talent to succeed at Madrid, he cautioned that the true test of his worth will come from the resolve needed to overcome his poor form, particularly with Alvaro Morata waiting in the wings.

“Benzema needs to prove that he can overcome this pressure stage,” he said to Marca. “He has talent and quality, but maybe the position of Madrid striker calls for more character and personality. Morata will not want to miss the opportunity.”

The former Mexico striker also backed Atletico Madrid to challenge for the Liga title, and sang the praises of in-form striker Diego Costa.

“Atletico are a strong candidate for the title because they are competing well and showing the character of Cholo [Diego Simeone]. Additionally, Diego Costa is a strong striker who is great at the moment.”

Sanchez was recently named as a Liga ambassador to the Americas, and said of his new position: “It will be an honour to represent the league. I’ll do it with all the professionalism and care that was shown to me when I played."