It has been a difficult few months for Real Madrid and France forward Karim Benzema. A period full of ups and downs with Madrid was topped off by a cruel end in Qatar, with the France national team, where he had to pack his bags a day before the start of the 2022 World Cup due to another setback.
Having recovered from his latest injury and recharged his batteries with a mini-vacation before returning to work with Los Blancos, Carlo Ancelotti is waiting for him with open arms. According to Marca, the Italian coach’s main objective for Madrid’s winter pre-season is to get Benzema back to his best for the return to action against Real Valladolid on 30 December.
Ancelotti ended up missing his first-choice striker in the last few games before the break for the World Cup, when Madrid let slip of first place in the La Liga standings, and he does not want a repeat of the captain’s continuous absences. The aim is to get him back to 100 per cent and for him to enjoy a run of matches that will allow him to reach his peak form.
Benzema suffered five muscular problems in the first half of the season and has accumulated 84 days out of action so far in the 2022-23 campaign. He has played just 12 games out of 26 (46%) between Madrid and his national team and has only played 26 minutes (against Celtic on 2 November) in the last 45 days.
Since his first injury on 6 September, he has only been able to play six games, punished by a series of physical problems that have prevented him from playing more than three games in a row since then. Until the break, Benzema entered a tunnel from which he never emerged and which affected his results: only six goals and one assist.
The plan for Benzema
Ancelotti and Antonio Pintus, the first-team fitness coach, have set about drawing up a plan to get Benzema back to his best for the second and decisive part of the season. There is enough time to design a training plan that will allow Karim to accumulate a good workload until the return to league action and leave behind the problems that have limited his performance throughout the season.
With some of the squad still in Qatar (Vinícius, Rodrygo and Asensio), focusing on Benzema is essential for now until the World Cup players return to Valdebebas.
GSFN | Kieran Quaile