Benzema's the real deal

The striker is looking forward to the challenges that await him in the future at Real Madrid, writes David Charlesworth.

Despite being involved in two car accidents in as many months, Karim Benzema is starting to settle into life at Real Madrid.

The striker reportedly crashed his Audi into a wall near his home in November 2009 and followed that up with another mishap while celebrating his birthday in December on the Reunion Island.

Remarkably, he escaped from both accidents unharmed, although his pride will almost certainly have taken a bashing.

As his Madrid team-mate Christoph Metzelder joked: “I would get into a car with Karim, but I might tell him to ease up just a bit.”

Yet, Benzema is pleased to be making friends after enduring an arduous few months in the Spanish capital following his 35million euro (GBP31 million) move from Lyon in the summer.

The French international arrived at the Bernabeu as part of Florentino Perez’s new generation of ‘galacticos’ — an elite crew that included Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Xabi Alonso.

His early months in Spain were in stark contrast to his time at Lyon, where he was revered for both club and country. However, he has still scored six goals for Los Merengues, making him the club’s third-top scorer and he has started to justify his hefty price tag in recent weeks with some eye-catching performances.

But Benzema, 22, refuses to get carried away with current events and is looking forward to the challenges that await him in the future and he hopes he can help his club capture the Spanish Primera Division title and the UEFA Champions League.

“I feel prepared for the big matches that are coming. I feel well these days and I can show even better form,” he said. “I feel I have found my place and that little by little I am gaining new respect as a footballer. I know I need to have a run of games, to play the most minutes possible to raise my level of play.”

The fact that he can now speak Spanish has almost certainly contributed to his improved form at Madrid. “Now I can communicate with all of my team-mates. I can understand Spanish and I also understand the direction given to me by the coach,” he added.

“My circle of friends is now bigger, as not only am I a friend of the French speakers, but also (Gonzalo) Higuain, (Ezequiel) Garay and Cristiano Ronaldo, among many others.”

Although he is now starting to enjoy life in Spain there are rumours swirling in the press that Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to sign Benzema — a player who snubbed Manchester United in order to sign for Madrid.

Ferguson wants to bolster an attack that is over-reliant on Wayne Rooney for goals and sees the ex-Lyon man as the ideal target. However, with his dark days at Los Blancos seemingly at an end, it seems Benzema will be going nowhere.

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