Karim Benzema slams Lionel Messi critics in hard-hitting interview

Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi were once fierce rivals in their days at Real Madrid and Barcelona, but the Frenchman has shown his respect for his former adversary in an interview.

Benzema has featured in an incredible 38 El Clasicos whilst with Real. The majority of those saw Messi play against him.

Read: Why Barcelona and Real Madrid have agreed to a ‘non-aggression pact’

The end result would be the same on many occasions, particularly during Barca’s glory spell under Pep Guardiola. The decisive Messi making the crucial impact. And who can forget his incredible performance at the Bernabeu in the 2016/17 season, when he scored a last-minute winner and held his shirt aloft?

Karim Benzema Lionel Messi
Image Credit: Getty

When he was forced to leave the club last summer because Barca could not afford to renew his contract, the football world was stunned. Fans had grown used to Messi being linked with moves away. It was almost a bi-yearly ritual that the rumour mill would suggest the little maestro was joining Manchester City, or Chelsea, or Paris Saint-Germain.

In the end, it was the latter club that won out. The 34-year-old signalled a new chapter in signing for the French giants.

What has happened to Messi at PSG?

Put simply, things haven’t worked out exactly how Messi would have planned at PSG. For sure, we’ve seen some of the old magic. He netted an incredible curling effort against Manchester City in the Champions League to remind us all of that.

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And in December, Messi also provided three assists in one Ligue 1 game against Saint-Etienne.

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However, there have been issues. Injury affected the Argentinian at the beginning of the season, and he has only netted one goal in 11 Ligue 1 appearances. In addition, he is yet to fully recover after testing positive for Covid-19 in early January.

He posted on Instagram: “It took me longer than I thought to be well but I’m almost recovered and I’m really looking forward to getting back on the pitch.”

The old Messi spark hasn’t been quite as prominent this season as it once was. Of course, that’s not to say the 34-year-old isn’t still one of the best players on the planet, and it sums up his incredible talent that, even when not at his best, Messi can still claim that accolade.

Benzema shows support for Messi

Despite the struggles of Lionel Messi to find his best form, Karim Benzema has offered support to the Argentinian and slammed those who have criticised him.

In an interview with French TV station Telefoot, the Real Madrid striker said: “How is Messi not going to succeed? It’s just a time of adaptation, because he hasn’t scored many goals.

“But look at what he does on the pitch. In any case, you can’t criticise a player like that. Somebody who criticises Messi doesn’t understand anything about football.”

Benzema clearly respects Messi, which is loudly echoed in his words. Football fans will be hoping to see the reigning Ballon d’Or winner return to action soon and once again capture the minds of everybody watching him play the beautiful game.

Featured Image Credit: Getty