RIVALDO: BENZEMA IS STILL NO 1 FRENCH PLAYER

RIVALDO: BENZEMA IS STILL NO 1 FRENCH PLAYER

Former Brazil international Rivaldo opines that Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is still the best French player, despite not featuring for France in their attempt to win the Euro 2016 on home soil this year.

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Greizmann has made tremendous improvement in the last two-three seasons. He is tipped to be the future of French football, and he showed this as he was clearly the star man for the team at the Euro 2016 tournament, after an impressive showing in the Spanish La Liga and Champions League.

“Antonie Griezmann has obviously has a great season for both club and country. However, I would say that Karim Benzema is still the No 1 French footballer. Benzema has shown by his consistency at the highest level that he is one of the best strikers in the world,” Rivaldo told L’Equipe.

Rivaldo claimed the pressure the Madrid man faces at the club is huge and he is impressed by the way he has handled it over the years. He said the French team felt his absence despite reaching the finals of the tournament. France lost 1-0 in the extra time to Portugal in a keenly-contested game. Rivaldo added that “the final could have turned out happier for them,” had Benzema be allowed to play despite a prevailing scandal.

Benzema would have competition when he returns to Real Madrid for the season as the club refused to sell Alvaro Morata after getting him from Juventus by activating their buy-back clause.

Since joining the Santiago Bernabeu from French outfit Lyon in 2009, Benzema has been the point-man for Madrid – contesting with Gonzalo Higuain at some point. He partnered with others through the years but he remained the lead. He is one of the most influential players and his record shows 162 goals in 317 games. In the past two seasons, he has partnered well with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. The return of prodigal son Morata will definitely bring competition upfront.