Karim Benzema, best French player in 2021 according to France Football: « I try to provide sensations »


«  After 2011, 2012 and 2014, you are the best French player of the year 2021. Do you have the impression of a return to grace in France?
I do not know. I don’t like to say  »return to grace ». I don’t see it like that. There was my return to the France team… With the French public, as with all my supporters, I have always tried to provide pleasure. They like what I do on the pitch.

Are you able to say: “This year, I, Karim Benzema, am the best French player”?
These are just words. I don’t like to say things like that. It can be taken one way or another. My motivation is to do better every year. And what I’m doing is better, in terms of statistics, goals, assists, progress.

This year, you are ahead of Kylian Mbappé. Does the expression  »tell me who you beat, I’ll tell you who you are » takes on its full meaning?
I am not in the expressions but in the truth: what is happening on the ground. He is one of the great players and it will become a very great one. That’s what I wish him every time. We are lucky to play together in the selection, so I know the potential, what he is capable of doing. Afterwards, I am not at all in competition with him, or I focus on everything he does, no. On the field, we get along very well, it works very well. It’s good to have a player like that who is there. I think I have to motivate him, he motivates me. But it’s good competition.

During these seven years without this trophy, did you feel that you were no longer the best French player?
The season is over, I don’t look at what one or the other has done, and  »there I am the best », no. I haven’t been playing football for two years, it’s already going to be thirteen at Real. It’s not to say  »I’m the best, I’m stronger than so and so ». I’m not like that. Me, it’s to continue to be very good and to climb the stairs, little by little, to be at the very top.

« If you make history, you make a mark in people’s hearts »

Are you in competition with yourself?
Exactly.

Do you prefer to mark history or the spirits?
Minds, you may be good for two, three matches, after that it’s forgotten, we move on. History is better, it stays. That’s why I play, in a big club, and why all week I fight to progress and mark the history of football. This story belongs to everyone: the person who comes to the stadium, the one who is at home in front of his TV. If you make history, you make a mark in people’s hearts. Winning people’s hearts goes with what you provide on the field. That’s what I try to do, provide spectacle, sensations. I play for it.

For your year 2021, would you have liked another trophy from France Football?
Necessarily (laughs). It’s not a question to ask that. It’s sure, it’s clear. That’s how it was, I wasn’t far (4th in the 2021 Ballon d’Or behind Messi, Lewandowski and Jorginho). It’s up to me to continue and win collective trophies. That’s what I missed, I think. On the pitch, I don’t know what more I can do. »

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