Santiago Solari backs Benzema after striker bags brace for Real Madrid

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari says he feels for those people who have only just come to realise how good Karim Benzema is.

Benzema scored twice on Thursday night as Madrid beat Girona 3-1 to secure their place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals with a 7-3 aggregate triumph.

The France forward has now scored five goals in his last three appearances and 17 in all competitions this season, taking his overall tally for Madrid to 209 goals in 10 years at the Bernabeu.

That has lifted him up to sixth in the club’s all-time top scorer list, but the 31-year-old has not always received the plaudits his performances and statistics have deserved, according to Solari.

The Real boss said on his club’s website: “It’s the same Karim as we’ve been seeing for years.

“I feel sorry for people who have only noticed him since last week. He’s incredibly talented and generous in his efforts for the team.

Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema has scored 203 goals for Real Madrid (Peter Byrne/PA)

“He’s on a fine run of form and we’re all delighted with his goals”.

Madrid went into the quarter-final second leg boasting a 4-2 lead from the first meeting at the Bernabeu, and they extended their advantage through Benzema’s 28th-minute opener.

The former Lyon forward added a second just before the interval and, although Pedro Porro pulled a goal back for Girona in the 72nd minute, Marcos Llorente wrapped things up for Madrid soon after.

The European champions join draw Barcelona, Valencia and Real Betis in the last four, throwing up the possibility of a mouth-watering Clasico showdown with their arch-rivals from the Nou Camp in Friday’s draw.

Solari said of that prospect: “It’s a hypothesis that will be revealed tomorrow. It’s normal. When you aspire to win everything you have to prepare to face all fronts.”

He added: “They are all good teams and we’ll face who we’re drawn against.

“Whatever the draw brings, we will face it with joy, energy and enthusiasm.

“We are going to fight on all front, give our best, The players know it. We are competing for everything and we will do our best.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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