Great players always criticised - Benzema not affected by jeers

Real Madrid fans have given Karim Benzema a hard time for much of the season, but he says that comes with the territory as a "great player".

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema   -  Getty Images

Karim Benzema is not letting the jeers directed at him by Real Madrid fans get him down, saying "people have always criticised great players".

Benzema has had a difficult season with Madrid, scoring just five times in 26 LaLiga appearances.

That figure was made to look even worse on Sunday when defensive midfielder Casemiro moved level with Benzema, despite playing a game less than the French striker.

As a result of his poor form, Benzema has had to contend with heckles from sections of the typically demanding Madrid crowd on numerous occasions.

But he is trying not to focus on them, confident that he is still a vital member of Zinedine Zidane's squad.

"I play football and I try to help my teammates and to win everything there is to win," Benzema told Vanity Fair.

"What I don't like is when people attack me when I play well, even if I don't score. I play for the people who value what I do on the pitch.

"Those that come to the stadium to whistle, let them whistle. I'm not going to change their opinion.

"People have always criticised great players. We [footballers] sell newspapers. I don't need to read the press to know when I've have a bad game."

Madrid president Florentino Perez helps make such difficult times easier for Benzema, who says he has a close bond with the 71-year-old.

"It was a dream to meet someone like him," Benzema said. "He's very calm and very friendly.

"He asked me if I wanted to play for Real Madrid and I said yes. I gave him my word, and that's how we've always been.

"He is behind me in the good times and the bad times. He is the club president, but to me he is also like a member of my family. That's how I feel.

"When the [Mathieu] Valbuena thing happened, after spending the night in a cell I was really down when I got back to Madrid. Florentino was waiting for at Valdebebas [Madrid's training ground] and he was very kind to me."

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