‘The Benzema of last year would have scored a few more goals’ – Thibaut Courtois

Real Madrid returned to La Liga on Friday night against Valladolid, securing a 2-0 victory to return them to the top of the league. It was anything but routine though, with Real Madrid needing an 83rd-minute Karim Benzema penalty to get the breakthrough, before he added a second in the 89th.

However the Frenchman did miss a couple of gilt-edged chances earlier in the match. Speaking to Diario AS after the match, Thibaut Courtois admitted that Benzema was not at his sharpest.

“Karim is fine. He lacked some rhythm. Last year’s Karim would have scored a few more goals. But this is good for his confidence. Now it’s time for the Cup and a difficult game at Villarreal. We have to keep putting pressure on the leaders.”

It may well have been a throwaway comment, but it is interesting that Courtois highlights Benzema’s confidence. His injury struggles and then controversy over leaving the France World Cup squad have been an ongoing theme since. It is clear he does not feel the decision was fair, and having perhaps missed his last chance at international glory, he may still be processing it mentally. His celebration after the first goal certainly suggested an element of release.

Courtois also commented on the penalty itself, which was controversial. Real Valladolid manager fumed about it after the match, and Courtois tended to agree with him.

“It’s strange. In the World Cup we also did not understand when it was a handball and when it was not. We do not understand when it is a penalty and when it is not. For me it is bad luck on the part of Javi Sánchez. They are stupid penalties but they are penalties.”

Tags Karim Benzema Real Madrid Real Valladolid Thibaut Courtois
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