Karim Benzema says he cannot say for sure where he will be playing next season, but his ambition is to remain at Real Madrid for many more years.
Benzema, 26, was questioned by some at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu earlier in the current campaign. But he has responded with some of the best football of his career, and now looks a fixture in the future plans of both coach Carlo Ancelotti and club president Florentino Perez.
“I am here for the moment,” Benzema said. “We will see if I stay for my whole career but, for me, Madrid is the best club in the world. There is nothing higher. I have been playing at Madrid for five years, which shows that I am not bad as a footballer.”
The 35 million euro signing in summer 2009 admitted he had come through some up and down moments for both Los Blancos and Les Bleus, but had never lost faith in himself, and was now getting his reward with 21 goals in all competitions already this term.
“I had difficult moments with the club and with the national team,” Benzema said. “But I never dropped my hands, and I kept working. I always had confidence in myself. In the end, this will be a good year.”
Madrid assistant coach Zinedine Zidane had been a massive influence in his upswing in fortunes, Benzema admitted.
“Zidane makes me progress every day in every way,” he said. “We talk about how to approach the games, about concentration… Against Atletico [Madrid], for example, he showed me videos of goals against [Thibaut] Courtois.”
Benzema picked up a thigh injury during Saturday’s 1-0 La Liga win at Malaga, making him a doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Schalke [which Madrid go into with a 6-1 advantage from the first game in Germany].
The former Lyon striker, who has 35 goals in 59 Champions League games over his career, said he could not explain why the European competition appeared to bring out his best form.
“The Champions League is a competition which goes well for me, I do not know why,” Benzema said. “Almost all the great players have won it, and it makes me dream. There are many teams in form, but we have to focus on ourselves and try and win it.”