bleacherreport: Real Madrid star Eden Hazard has described his team-mate Karim Benzema as the best centre-forward on the planet.
Hazard joined Los Blancos from Chelsea in the summer and operates in the Spanish giants’ front three alongside Benzema.
Per Marca, he said of his team-mate: “After having played with him for three or fourth months, I think that, right now, he’s the best striker in the world. But [also] away from his role as a striker, he makes others better.”
Hazard has dovetailed well with Benzema, a selfless player who excels at bringing others into the game and creating chances.
That is of little surprise, as the Belgian also had great chemistry with Olivier Giroud—another striker who can link play in the final third very well—at Chelsea.
Benzema has also been the Madrid player who has most stepped up since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure last year.
The 31-year-old notched 30 goals for Real last season, making it the second-most prolific campaign of his career in Spain after the 2011-12 season.
This season, he sits on 11 goals and five assists after 15 matches.
Not many players have been more prolific than him in 2019:
5 – The top five goalscorers in the top five European leagues in 2019:
29 – Lionel Messi🇦🇷
28 – Robert Lewandowski🇵🇱
25 – Kylian Mbappé 🇫🇷
24 – KARIM BENZEMA 🇫🇷
23 – Jamie Vardy 🏴
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 12, 2019
Overall, he has 233 goals and 129 assists in 480 games for the club. Only five players have more Real Madrid goals to their name, and he only needs nine more to equal club legend Ferenc Puskas.
Managing Madrid’s Kiyan Sobhani and Bleacher Report’s Gianni Verschueren praised Benzema during Real’s 4-0 win over Eibar before the international break, in which he scored twice:
Benzema’s been everywhere. So many good touches and off-ball runs. I swear at the age of 31, it’s like he’s getting better.
— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) November 9, 2019
Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski absolutely bossing things at the same time. The bulk of the very best strikers tend to age like fine wine. Experience and football IQ are so valuable to the position
— Gianni Verschueren (@ReverschPass) November 9, 2019
In terms of sheer numbers, Benzema isn’t the most prolific striker operating at the top level of the game.
The likes of Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have consistently scored in higher volumes over the years.
However, for all their qualities—Kane in particular has shown he can be a playmaker for others in the final third as well as a ruthless goalscorer—none can match his ability to forge opportunities for his team-mates.
Hazard has taken time to settle at Real—he’s only scored once for his new side thus far—but he and Benzema will likely have a very profitable relationship in the coming years.
Source: Published by bleacherreport