Navas hails 'hugely important' Benzema

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The French striker is in red-hot form and that hasn't gone unnoticed by teammates and coaches alike

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas heaped praise Karim Benzema after the forward's goal-scoring form continued on Thursday.

Benzema scored a first-half brace in Madrid's 3-1 win over Girona as they sealed a 7-3 aggregate success in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

The Frenchman has now netted five times in his past three games, moving onto 17 in all competitions this season.

Navas hailed the 31-year-old and said Benzema had always been a key for Madrid.

"He's hugely important for us, we've always defended him because we know what a great player he is," Navas said.

"We know what he brings to the team, he's a reference and we're very happy that he's playing how he is."

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari was also left impressed by Benzema's performance and joked he felt sorry for those who had only discovered the striker 'last week'.

Madrid are now into the last four of the Copa del Rey and could face rivals Barcelona in an El Clasico semi-final.

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But Navas played down the importance of the draw, with Valencia and Real Betis also in the semis.

"We’re relaxed, if we want to win the cup, we have to beat whoever we're drawn against," he said.

"We have to take the draw seriously and be hungry to play."

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