The striker refused to criticise his coach but did express his alarm at continually being taken off, while the Madrid boss says it was for tactical reasons
Karim Benzema is “fed up” of being substituted by Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez but refrained from criticising the Santiago Bernabeu boss.
The France international had opened the scoring for Madrid in a 1-1 draw against rivals Atletico Madrid on Sunday but, for the fifth time in six La Liga starts this season, he was taken off before full-time.
“Substitutions are what the coach decides, I’m just there to help my team-mates,” Benzema told AS.
“It’s true I’m fed up of being taken off. I’m calm and will continue to work so I’m not always subtituted. He took me off to get a result, for defensive reasons.
“It’s true that the electronic board always shows the No.9. Ask Benitez why that is.”
Spanish media followed up on the 27-year-old’s suggestion and Benitez explained that Mateo Kovacic replaced the former Lyon forward in the 77th minute to “balance the team” – a plan which didn’t work as Atletico snatched a draw six minutes later via substitute Luciano Vietto.
“Benzema did well, but I substituted him because we needed to freshen things up on the wing,” Benitez told reporters..
“With Gareth Bale’s speed we were able to play between different areas of the pitch and with Cristiano Ronaldo up forward we kept up our attacks.
“We balanced the team and maintained our attacking punch.”