Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti compared his striker Karim Benzema to a fine wine that improves with age after the 34-year-old netted a hat-trick against Chelsea on Wednesday, putting the Spaniards in control of their Champions League quarter-final.
"He just gets better and better, like wine," Ancelotti told reporters when asked about Benzema's performance against the reigning European champion.
"He is a player who is showing more and more leadership, and is more and more important for this team," the Italian said.
Benzema hit Chelsea with two fine headed goals in the 21st and 24th minutes before capitalising on an error by goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to claim his hat-trick early in the second half.
"He is really complete, not just as a striker but as a player. Benzema scores a lot of goals and this is really important but he also helps the team a lot in possession," Ancelotti said. "We are really happy and lucky to have him."
The Italian, who steered Chelsea to a league and cup double in 2009/10 as coach at Stamford Bridge, said Wednesday's performance by his side had been "amazing" but stressed the tie was far from over.
"I still think it will be tough for us in the next game against them. For this we are focused," he said.
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