Benzema is a complete number nine & Real Madrid form has been no surprise – Varane

Karim Benzema Real Madrid 2019-20
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The French forward has enjoyed another productive campaign in 2019-20, with Zinedine Zidane getting the most out of those at his disposal

Karim Benzema has earned a billing as the “complete number nine” from Real Madrid team-mate and fellow Frenchman Raphael Varane.

The experienced frontman has enjoyed another productive campaign in 2019-20, with 26 goals recorded across 47 games in all competitions.

Benzema has become a key man for the Blancos in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in the summer of 2018, with the 32-year-old stepping out of the Portuguese’s shadow to shine in his own right.

His value to Madrid has been called into question at times, with an expectant fan base demanding more from him.

A succession of coaches have recognised his importance, though, while those around him have always been quick to talk up his contribution to the collective cause.

Benzema is now in a position to dominate the headlines, with Varane pleased to see a man who has often been an unsung hero throughout his 11 years in Spain now getting the recognition he deserves.

The France international defender told UEFA’s official website of a proven striker: "He's in great form. I'm not surprised. Everyone knows his quality.

"He has great confidence and he's one of the best, he's our leader in attack and he gives us a lot more than just scoring goals.

"He combines experience, quality and physicality. He's a complete number nine."

Another Frenchman, Zinedine Zidane, has been the man to get the best out of Benzema and a number of the others at his disposal.

Varane said of a coach who has added a second La Liga title to his managerial CV: "Zidane transmits confidence and calmness.

"It's important because it means he supports me and gives me advice.

"He pushed me to take risks and to play higher to help the team play a more offensive style."

With Real having wrapped up a domestic crown, their attention is now turning to the pursuit of Champions League honours.

They trail a last-16 encounter with Manchester City 2-1 heading into the second leg of that contest, but Varane is feeling optimistic as the Blancos prepare to pay a visit to the Etihad Stadium.

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The World Cup-winning centre-half said: "We have a lot of experience in these big games, so we can rest easy.

"We're just as decisive as before, winning is always our aim and it's in this club's DNA.

"We always come into these games with a hunger to win and with determination. We'll prepare for it and do everything we can, just like we always do in this competition."