Karim Benzema has been Real Madrid’s main striker for over a decade and the French forward is showing no signs of slowing down despite facing criticism in the past.
On Thursday, Benzema further silenced his critics with a brace against Valencia in a 3-0 win for Real Madrid that lifted the Los Blancos to within two points off leaders Barcelona.
Benzema’s second goal was truly special as he volleyed past the Valencia goalkeeper in stunning fashion.
He brilliantly lifted the ball over defender Hugo Gillamon with his right foot and then shot with his left into the top corner.
Zinedine Zidane said Karim Benzema “shuts people up a bit” when he scores goals like his stunning volley against Valencia on Thursday.
Marco Asensio had earlier made it two after Benzema gave Madrid the lead, his brace taking his tally for the season to 21 goals in 38 games.
“His performance was magnificent, like the whole team, but his goal was extraordinary,” said Zidane.
“We know that he is comfortable with his left foot but wow, to lift the ball in that way and to swing like that with his left foot, without the ball touching the ground, truly it’s a very complicated piece of skill.
“It’s beautiful to see it and I’m happy for him.
“Often we see Karim as the number nine of Madrid and he must score goals, but he doesn’t only do that. So when he does score, I’m happy because he shuts people up a bit, and the work, he always does that no matter what.”
Benzema is a controversial figure in France after his alleged involvement in a blackmail plot against former teammate Mathieu Valbuena. He has not played for the national team since 2015.
But the 32-year-old has been in sensational form for Real Madrid this season and his latest goal was his 243rd for the club, putting him fifth on Madrid’s all-time list.
“We know all these matches are finals so this was very important for us and for me personally as well,” said Benzema.
“It was a beautiful goal, I think I can say it was beautiful, it went in and that was great. Sometimes I do that in practice and today I did it in the match.”
Here’s the video of his third goal
(With AFP inputs)