Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has hailed team-mate Karim Benzema as an inspiration for him due to the striker’s “exceptional” longevity.
Since completing a €35m transfer from Lyon in 2009, Benzema has carved out an incredible career in Spain. He has, so far, won 17 trophies and formed a key part of each of Real’s four Champions League triumphs in the last five years.
Perhaps, though, the Frenchman’s most impressive feat in Madrid was his ability to bounce back last season. After going two campaigns failing to break the 20-goal mark, he scored 30 times in the previous one.
But, in light of Luka Jovic’s €60m arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt, doubts had begun to creep in over Benzema’s future once more.
Even at his 31 years of age, however, Benzema remains the top centre-forward in Zinedine Zidane’s line-up this season. While keeping the young Jovic benched, he’s bagged four goals in as many La Liga games.
And the striker’s ability to perform at such a high level for so long has won him the admiration of compatriot and Real team-mate Varane.
“We have a good relationship,” the 26-year-old said in his Amazon Prime documentary.
“When I arrived in Madrid, there were two Frenchmen, him and Lassana Diarra.
“We have known each other for eight years now. We’ve had great moments together. We talk a lot. We talk a lot about football, in good and bad times.
“We have a very good relationship. He has more experience than me, so he can have a role of giving advice on how to approach things at the highest level and how to last that level because he’s been at Madrid a while and his longevity is exceptional.”
Benzema has managed 266 goals and 125 assists in 469 appearances for Real across all competitions.
After bagging a brace in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Levante, he’ll now hope to continue his form at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.