Madrid's world record Mbappe pursuit may spell end for Morata, but Benzema stays

Alvaro Morata, Real Madrid
The Frenchman has solid support at the Santiago Bernabeu despite some difficulties in 2016-17, but the Spain striker may leave this transfer window


Real Madrid's pursuit of Kylian Mbappe could force Alvaro Morata to move on in the summer, but Karim Benzema is set to stay at Real Madrid despite doubts over the French forward's form in 2016-17.

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Benzema is in his eighth season at Real and the 29-year-old has come in for criticism from fans and also the media for some off-colour performances in the current campaign, but he remains highly valued by the people that matter most at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ever since Gonzalo Higuain left to join Napoli in 2013, Benzema has been the undisputed first-choice centre-forward at Real, even though the club have tried to bring in several strikers in that time - including Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski.

President Florentino Perez is a big supporter of the French forward and the club chief said in March: "For me he is the best number 9 in the world. It is difficult to find a player like him. At the moment I would say he will stay here forever."

Benzema Real Madrid stats

Benzema is also admired by coach Zinedine Zidane, while it is well known that Cristiano Ronaldo enjoys playing with the French forward due to his unselfish nature, plus his ability to drop deep and link up with the midfield.

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Nevertheless, Madrid are in the market for another striker this summer with young Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe their top target. Asked in March if Benzema and Mbappe could play together for Real, Perez said: "Anything is possible!"

Madrid are keen to beat their rivals to one of the world's most exciting talents and could make the 18-year-old the world's most expensive player in a deal surpassing the €105 million Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last summer.

That would mean an uncertain future at Madrid for Morata, who returned in a buy-back option from Juventus (Real's rivals in Saturday's Champions League final) last June.

Kylian Mbappe Monaco

Alvaro Morata Real Madrid La Liga

As things stand, Madrid are keen to hang on to their homegrown striker, who has scored 20 goals in 42 appearances (at a superior rate to Benzema's 19 in 47) for at least another season.

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However, the player is already having doubts over his long-term future at the club and could leave in search of regular first-team football this summer - especially if Mbappe arrives from Monaco. Chelsea and AC Milan are interested, with a number of other clubs also monitoring his situation.

If Mbappe is signed but stays at Monaco on loan for another season, Morata could remain at the Bernabeu in 2017-18. But there will only be permanent room for one of the two alongside Benzema - who remains the favourite of everyone except a sector of the fanbase.