For a moment, Karim Benzema once again seemed to have to give all the credit to compatriot Kylian Mbappe, until the Real Madrid attack leader manipulated the clash with Paris Saint-Germain in the second half. With a hat-trick in the space of seventeen minutes, Benzema left the hitherto superior Parisians completely stunned: 3-1 for Real. “Benzema is the complete modern footballer for me, he really has everything”, Arsene Wenger exults immediately after the game. beIN Sports.
“What I like is that he is a team player, everything he does is simple and simple,” Wenger continued. “Everything he does you think: I could have done this too, and that is an extraordinary quality in football.” Benzema forced the equalizer after an hour by chasing Gianluigi Donnarumma, who pushed the ball into Vinícius Júnior’s feet. “What is really remarkable about the first goal: Benzema creates the whole opportunity, because he senses that there is an opportunity with the keeper. He accelerates, and also notices how quickly he moves on to be playable again for Vinicius. It’s really remarkable,” Wenger said.
Rafael van der Vaart is in the studio of Ziggo Sports ecstatic about what Benzema is showing at the age of 34. “I have so much respect for this,” said the former midfielder. “You have to imagine, I even played with him in his first year at Real (2009/10 season, ed.). Then of course everything was about Cristiano Ronaldo, who came at the same time, and also a little bit Kaka.. …but that Benzema is still playing there now, at Real Madrid, where there is always criticism of a striker if you don’t score… that’s really worth a compliment. Just respect.”
Thibaut Courtois kept Real Madrid going several times in the first hour with beautiful saves and then saw Benzema claim a hero role. “He showed everyone why he is the best number 9 in the world,” said the Belgian goalie. “Robert Lewandowski also scored three times yesterday, but there were two penalties. Karim has shown why he deserves a higher place in the Ballon d’Or election. He scored so many important goals for us. Today he was running, fighting and sometimes limping. His last goal was fantastic.”
Benzema became the first French footballer to produce a hat-trick three times in the Champions League and proudly appeared in front of the camera. “I am proud to be the third top scorer in Real Madrid’s history,” said the captain, who with 309 goals only tolerates Raul (323) and Cristiano Ronaldo (450). “I will not stop, I want to keep scoring,” announces Benzema. “Real Madrid is alive and we will never give up. We also have to thank the fans, they were special tonight.”
After the weak performance in Paris, Real straightened its back in its own Santiago Bernabéu. “We have shown another Real Madrid, with a high block and a lot of pressure,” said Benzema. “We pushed through. We showed today that we are a great team – even if PSG is too – and that we deserve our place in the quarter-finals.” Yet Benzema also has compliments for the Parisians. “They have world-class players. They lack the completion, they could have scored more goals in the first leg. And Mbappe? Kylian is of course disappointed, he wanted to shine. In the first leg he already played great and in the return he did. the same, especially in the first half. But after that we managed to silence him well.”