Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti says that Karim Benzema returned to Los Blancos “with a lot of motivation”.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has said that Karim Benzema returned to his club “with a lot of motivation”, as he looks to move on from the disappointment of the 2022 World Cup.
Benzema was in line to represent France at the competition, but he picked up a thigh injury in training before the tournament started, which led to him being removed from the camp.
The 35-year-old would allegedly have been fit to play for the Blues in the latter stages of the World Cup if he stayed with the squad, but the national team’s head coach Didier Deschamps made the decision to take the experienced striker out of the squad.
Benzema has since retired from international duty, and Ancelotti is expecting to have a fired-up centre-forward for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign.
“I won’t speak about France’s decision. It means we have a player who is back with a lot of motivation. He’s very excited to be back after not being able to play much in the first part of the season,” Ancelotti told reporters.
“He came back on December 10th after some holidays and he looked quite good when he returned. He started training with the team and played 30 minutes in our first warm-up friendly and then 45 minutes in the second friendly.”
Benzema has scored six goals and registered one assist in 12 appearances for the Spanish and European champions during the 2022-23 campaign.
Eden Hazard will also be hoping to make an impression in the second half of the campaign, having struggled to impress for Belgium at the World Cup, failing to register a goal or an assist in three group-stage appearances.
“Hazard has been training well and I think he’s doing better now than he was before the World Cup,” said Ancelotti when asked about the 31-year-old.
“With all the matches we have coming up, we’ll need to use the whole squad and Hazard will be one of those players who’ll play more in the second half of the season.”
Ancelotti has also recently been linked with the Brazil job, with Tite leaving his role with the South Americans following the World Cup.
However, the Italian has said that he is not interested in departing Bernabeu to take the international role.
“If they’re interested, I don’t know because they haven’t contacted me. I appreciate their interest if it exists, but my situation here is quite clear. I’ll never say that I want to leave this club,” he said.
Real Madrid would move above Barcelona to the top of the La Liga table if they manage to overcome Real Valladolid on Friday night.