'Benzema is a more complete player than Henry' - Govou hails Madrid striker as a 'real leader'

Karim Benzema Real Madrid 2019-20
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The former Lyon striker has heaped praise upon his old team-mate in the wake of the Blancos' latest La Liga triumph

Karim Benzema is a "more complete" player than Thierry Henry was, according to Sydney Govou, who has hailed the Real Madrid striker as a "real leader".

Benzema is currently enjoying arguably his best season yet at Madrid, having hit 26 goals in 41 outings across all competitions for Zinedine Zidane's side.

Of those efforts, 21 have come in La Liga, as the Blancos picked up their 34th title last week following a 2-1 victory over Villarreal at Santiago Bernabeu.

Benzema narrowly missed out on the coveted Pichichi award, which is given to the league's top scorer, with Lionel Messi grabbing the prize for a record seventh time after scoring 25 goals for Barcelona.

The Frenchman moved into fifth in the Madrid's all-time scoring rankings earlier in the season, and now has 248 strikes to his name from 512 appearances in total for the club.

He has certainly justified every penny of the €30 million (£27m/$34m) it cost the Blancos to prise him away from Lyon in 2009, with Govou delighted to see how his old team-mate has progressed in the Spanish capital.

The former Lyon striker believes Benzema has surpassed France legend Henry as a more accomplished all-round player, as he told L'Equipe: "I think he has largely the level of Thierry. 

"Thierry really impressed me because he was not only a fast player but he had the ball. But Karim is more complete. 

"He also has a kind of presence because he is smaller and less athletic. Karim has always been a top player. If you love football, it's impossible not to love him."

Asked to assess Benzema's latest season at the Bernabeu, Govou responded: "I'm not surprised. I always thought he was one of the best European strikers. 

"He had small difficulties at the start at Real because he had to win. But he has taken on an incredible dimension over the years. 

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"And a little more after the departure of [Cristiano] Ronaldo. He has new responsibilities, he's a real leader."

Benzema and the rest of the Madrid squad are now looking ahead to next month's Champions League restart, as they continue to chase down a 14th European crown.

Zidane's men will have to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium to progress to this season's quarter-finals, which will be played in a straight knockout format.