Benzema and the nostalgia for Morata

Posted Tuesday, November 07, 2017 by

Benzema and the nostalgia for Morata

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema doesn't have a lot going in his favour at present.

One of the biggest in terms of the latter though is that he should never have chosen the No. 9 jersey. Not in Madrid.

It comes down to aesthetics perhaps but the 9 in Madrid has always been for a predatory striker, a lethal penalty box forward.

It is like dressing as a priest. If you dress as a priest, you are a priest and if you wear the No. 9 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, then you are a goalscorer.

But Benzema is not a goalscorer. He isn't Santillana, Hugo Sanchez nor Ivan Zamorano, although wearing that number almost forces him to connect and be compared with them.

It is the number that should adorn the back of Cristiano Ronaldo, as it once did, but the Portuguese had his CR7 brand to consider and that was the major reason for him swapping numbers.

Although Benzema isn't a favourite among fans, he carries the mystique and air of a man who does enjoy that favour among those in power at the club.

It is a privilege that also seems to extend to the bench but even still, in good times the striker is applauded, although when times are bad, he is one of the first to feel the frustration of fans and those watching.


In this current Madrid side, who are struggling in attack for goals, Benzema isn't only being asked to be himself, he's also being asked to be more like Alvaro Morata.

There's certainly nostalgia for the Chelsea forward. There is a longing for that type of striker, who has always had a place in the Spanish capital.

There is nostalgia for that type of opportunist, enthusiast and intelligent penalty area striker, who is always there to make the most of any little opportunity that comes his way, whether it be with his feet or his head.

None of those things are how many would describe the France international though and it is a mistake to measure him based only on his goals.

In fact, he is one of the best goalscorers in the history of Los Blancos and yet, he doesn't seem it.

Benzema will perhaps be remembered most by thinking about his shortcomings as much as people think about his positives.

For his remarkable assists, and his failures. For leaving three Atletico defenders for dead on a huge Champions League night, and his failures.

Many members and supporters left the Bernabeu on Sunday night openly wondering whether the player who should be at Chelsea is Benzema and whether Morata should have been the man to lead the line against Las Palmas.

Sunday's win in any case was an important one for Real, as Barcelona won once more, Valencia continued to threaten a changing of the guard and Atletico picked up a vital victory of their own.

However, the performance wasn't a convincing one from Los Blancos, they did what they had to do by picking up a win, avoiding injuries, unnecessary cards and, as a reward for those present, got to witness the stunning goal from Marco Asensio.

The boy's left foot was worth the price of admission alone.

But no clear improvement was witnessed in other areas. The first half was a little wooden and lacking in bite, while the second had the joy of that goal, the boos for Benzema and the feeling that something was going to happen any time Isco picked up the ball.

The eight point difference with Barcelona is weighing the club down like an anchor.

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