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Friday, August 19, 2022

Real Madrid still without a goal for Benzema

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Benzema chats with Mariano in training this week in Los Angeles.Javier Rojas (EFE)

Three months ago, the vast majority took for granted what Madrid would do this summer: sign Kylian Mbappé, the surgery that should smooth things out. It would be the great poster of the new Bernabéu and the solution to the most difficult replacement the team faces, that of Benzema, who turns 35 after the World Cup. But no, that didn’t happen. So this Tuesday, when the first team landed in Los Angeles to continue the preseason, everyone hugged Karim even more tenderly, with the reverent treatment bestowed only on the undisputed stars who had recently joined the group after an additional leave of absence to play on most precious body to protect the dressing room.

Antonio Rudiger, another defender, and the new battery of young and fibrous media, along with Aurélien Tchouameni (80 million committed), also walked through the luxurious Beverly Hills hotel. The combinations and alternatives to pull behind have multiplied with these two acquisitions; However, the big equation in the design of the future is yet to come. The PSG player’s thunderous sit-in has left the attack as it was, with the same feet, and the pampering of the Benzema soldier is more than ever non-negotiable at Valdebebas, especially with the distortion a World Cup in the middle of the course.

Madrid’s first post-holiday appearance, against Barcelona in Las Vegas at dawn in Spain from Saturday to Sunday (5:00, La 1), comes with just three training sessions for Karim, which will likely help Los Blancos to recover during the return to prove the game, or at least a long stretch, in this void without the Frenchman, the only hole on his way to the league and league title last season.

The disgust at the deduction of Mbappé, in whose basket all the eggs were put, has not changed the script of the offensive zone for the time being: making room for what has already been tried and condemned, like Jovic against Fiorentina (Mariano left a course and the resignation was imposed a long time ago); and Marco Asensio, who also fulfills his contract in 2023, do not offer the extension. According to Carlo Ancelotti there will be no signings (the market ends on August 31) and the new experiment to cover Benzema’s absences is Eden Hazard, better looking physically and with the public promise of finally being useful. A new job for the Belgian, spurred by the circumstances following Kylian’s refusal: Vinicius’ left-wing status (the ex-Chelsea native), trying to get some water from the most expensive well in club history and the Need to keep moving the wheel in a position where it hasn’t even managed to patch Karim. The three worst defeats of the past season came without him or after a hasty preparation by the Frenchman: the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League in Paris, the cup quarter-finals in Bilbao and Barcelona at home. “I’m very happy to be dependent on Benzema,” concluded Carletto smoothly in the spring.

Changing a calendar with WM

The attempt at hazard actually leads down a well-trodden path: the number of false nines. Since February, Asensio, Isco, Rodrygo and Modric have happened there alongside Bale. Nobody regulated anything and even in the test with the Croatian in the classic (0: 4) the tactical confusion was colossal. Hazard, like all previous ones, is trying to keep some of Benzema’s ability to band. The Belgian was never a goalkeeper either: at Chelsea in 2018-19 he scored 110 goals in 351 games, with a maximum of 21 goals in a season.

The official season, which begins for Los Blancos on August 10 in the Euro Cup Super Cup against Eintracht in Helsinki, also poses an additional risk in the Frenchman’s management: the World Cup in Qatar, a tournament the striker has not attended since 2014 more participated because of his expulsion for five years Les Blues. For some stars, this appointment will mean more than it does for him because of the opportunity for personal revenge and professional justification. But a change seen from the white shore.

Last year he lost almost twice as many games (10) as last year due to injury or precautionary measures, a fact that is difficult to separate from the additional strain his body has been subjected to after returning to the national team. And logic invites us to think that no matter how much one indulges, danger grows with time. “On vacation, I would rest one day and train another,” he said as he joined the rest of his teammates in Los Angeles.

Vinicius is set to maintain the growth spurt, Rodrygo is set to leap from epic highs to sustained performance, Asensio and his cramps remain on the payroll, Borja Mayoral is not left out in the silent backup waiting room and the team has it back-coated with Rudiger and Tchouameni. However, everyone is pleading for the health of Benzema, the player who multiplies his own and those of the others. Mbappé denied that Haaland had already flown to City and that the club are currently not taking the step to help the medium-profile Frenchman. The last of this kind were Mariano (21.5 million in 2018 for seven goals) and Jovic (63 million in 2019 for three goals and ended up selling only for 50% of a possible sale). Madrid is still without a net with Karim.

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