Hollande’s Ridicule Towards Benzema Infuriates Zidane
In a bid to maintain a healthy relationship with his players, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane defended striker Karim Benzema after Francois Hollande, the French President, went ahead to criticize the player regarding his immoral behavior. The French international is yet to represent the national team in any completion since August 2015 due to a sex scandal. Benzema was allegedly linked to a sex-tape blackmail scandal, which also involved Mathieu Valbuena, the ex-international teammate. Since then, betting lines have closely monitored the story.
According to the French President, Benzema is not a moral example, he said in a book published last week. In Benzema’s defense, Zidane said it is normal to criticize in literary works, but pointing out strange accusations is not normal because it affects the player. The Real Madrid coach expressed these sentiments on Monday evening, approximately 24 hours before facing Legia Warsaw in the Champions League. He added that the issue annoys him as a coach, but he must look into what Hollande said comprehensively.
Benzema spent approximately one year away from international football serving a temporary suspension. However, after Euro 2016, Noel Le Graet, the French Football Federation president, confirmed his legibility to continue playing. The French national coach Didier Deschamps is yet to include the striker in his squad after failing to do so in the last two international games played after Euro 2016. Zidane said he does not share Hollande’s disturbing views and comments because they come up after the lifting of the striker’s suspension.
Hollande’s criticism did not stop with Benzema. He pinpointed the lack of a positive attitude and emotional connection between the French team and the populace. In reaction to the president’s opinions, Raphael Varane, the French-Madrid defender said he feels untroubled by the criticisms. He chose not to express his sentiments about the issue to the press because Holland’s words did not worry him in any way.
On the field, Real Madrid players revived their high-scoring form after a spell of four consecutive draws. Zidane’s men thrashed Real Betis with a 6-1 score line on Saturday to help the team look forward to meeting Legia Warsaw with added confidence. They expect a similar goal fest at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night when they play the Polish club, which has conceded eight goals in the hands of Borussia Dortmund and Sporting CP without scoring a single goal in Group F. After 21 years of absence, Legia Warsaw currently sits at the bottom of Group F.
However, Zidane cautioned his players against being complacent, which led to unexpected home draws against Eibar and Villarreal in their recent La Liga matches this season. He said that even though many individuals predict an easy win for his side, the game remains 50-50 game because Legia Warsaw is in the same competition and they will fight to the end. However, they have to frustrate them early in the game to yield a good result.
With James Rodriguez already back from injury, Zidane will likely start the Colombian from the bench in favour of Isco, who scored two goals against Betis. The coach is expected to play the same squad because Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, and Casemiro are still nursing injuries.