NEWS STORY. 14/02/2022. Bárbara Jiménez
Karim Benzema fielded questions from the press gathered inside the media room at the Parc des Princes on the eve of the encounter against PSG (9pm CET) and he previewed the game in the following terms: “Spending time on the sidelines is difficult. I've been working morning, noon and night at home and at Valdebebas to be fit for this one. I'm mentally prepared, but now I have to go and see how I feel out on the pitch. I'm here to help my team, it's a massive match and if I play I'll be giving my all out there. I'll always force myself for my team, but I won't go and force things and end up getting an injury because that’d be bad news for the team”.
“I've put a lot of hours of work in and I'm feeling far better. We've got a training session now and I'll see how I'm feeling and if I'll be able to play. I've come a long way with my recovery and I’ll have to see how I'm feeling out on the pitch and we’ll make a decision after training. It's a special game because it's the Champions League. I feel comfortable when I'm in France with the national team and I'm here today representing my club. People treat me well and I have to go out and perform on the pitch, which is what people want to see from me”.
The team without him
“I don't consider that there is any dependence because the team has managed to win without me. The most important thing is that I've given my all to be here today. I really hope to be at 100%. We can't go taking any risks because it's a long old season”.
“I think that he’s an outstanding player and people in France are expecting more goals from him. He knows a lot about football and I've played against him many times when he was at Barcelona. When it comes to talking about Messi, the conversation has to revolve around football”.
“It's a massive game and it’s special to be coming up against him because we play together for the national team. The most important thing is to go out and play the game and that we get the win”.
“I can only hope that he has a good game and performs as he's able to. He's young, but is a brilliant player”.
Change in the away goals rule
“It doesn't change anything for me. We're here to put in a great performance, will have to be 100% out there and show what we're capable of. The most important thing is that we focus on our game, try to score goals and win the game”.
“He's a top player. I don't know whether he’s at 100%, but they'll be stronger if he does play. The outcome of a game doesn't depend on a single player, but Neymar, just like Messi, is a good and strong player”.
“Either team can win and is capable of reaching the final. It's one game and 90 minutes of football and whichever side is more up for it will win it. There are no favourites in this game and no favourites in modern-day football”.
How to approach these games
“You've got to be focused, be up for playing football, enjoy yourself out there, help the team and, above all, be happy. You've also got to have a little bit of luck, but the important thing is that everyone performs well”.
“They're all good and are top players. No one player comes to mind. In the French league, they come up against teams that sit back and that makes it difficult for them to play their game. It can sometimes not be all that attractive to watch because you've got to wait and be patient. I think that they’ve still got an excellent squad. They've got some individual talents, but also have a good defence, goalkeeper and midfielders. They up their performance levels in the Champions League. We can't go saying that they don't play good football or that they're struggling because they're a team that are capable of raising their game”.
Dropping points in LaLiga
“It's tough for us to play against teams that sit back. When we don't get that bit of luck to score in the opening 15 minutes we become nervous and the goals don’t come. We’ve dropped points, but we're still top of the league and are in good shape to stay there”.
Finishing his career in France
“I'm currently focused on Madrid. I’ll continue to work hard each year. It's too soon to say whether I’ll end my career in France. I'm happy at Madrid and believe that it's the best club in the world”.