The Italian says the 27-year-old’s ability to guarantee more than goals has established him at the top, while he expects Paris Saint-Germain to make life difficult for Real Madr…
Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid star Karim Benzema is the best out-and-out striker in world football, labelling the forward a “complete player”.
The Italian, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League showdown between Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain – two of the clubs he has coached – feels Benzema remains a cut above the competition.
It is precisely Benzema’s ability to make life easier for fellow attackers Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, instead of merely scoring goals, that has led his former coach to hold him in such high regard.
“It [playing with Benzema] is ideal for Ronaldo and Bale. To me, Karim is the best player in the world in his position, and not just as a goalscorer,” Ancelotti told AS.
“Talking about whether he should score 30 goals is a false debate. He has great qualities; he is a complete player.”
Much of the build-up to the match at Parc des Princes, for which Benzema remains a doubt with a hamstring problem, is likely to focus on the duel between Ronaldo and PSG’s enigmatic star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Having worked with both men, Ancelotti appreciates their considerable qualities.
“Cristiano has scored many goals and has a great ability to focus,” he said.
“He focuses on the daily training and is very important for the team and the other players.
“I can say the same for Ibrahimovic, I think he was important changing the mentality of the PSG players.”
On the outcome of the match itself, Ancelotti is torn over who to support in what he anticipates will be a close encounter, but expects the French champions to leave their mark on the tournament this year.
“My heart is divided. It is a very close game, we’ll see the strength of PSG this year,” the 56-year-old concluded. “I think it’s an important game for PSG.”