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Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema delighted after ending goal drought

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema said he felt he had answered his critics after ending his goal drought against Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Benzema, Real's top scorer in the competition with five goals, had been jeered by fans following recent below-par performances.

His goal was his 51st in the Champions League, making him its fifth-highest all-time scorer.

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Benzema equalised in the 18th minute to start Real's comeback as they won 3-1 at the Bernabeu and received an ovation when he was substituted after 81 minutes.

"I'm really proud and happy with my display," he told the club's official website.

"I now feel very good and after scoring the first goal, I felt that the fans were with me. That's really important for your confidence."

Benzema had not scored for since a draw at Sevilla in the Copa del Rey on Jan. 12, but said: "Since a young age, I've lived with criticism.

"I work hard and sometimes you score a lot of goals and on other occasions you don't.

"At times it's to be expected that I come in for criticism, but I'm always here trying to help the team."

Coach Zinedine Zidane said: "I am always happy with him. He had been lacking goals in his recent games, but I am happy with his goal and his general play.

"He links up brilliantly with the others and really makes them play."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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