Monaco's Kylian Mbappe mustn't rush into big-money move - Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema hopes to finish his career at Real Madrid but believes Monaco's teenage star Kylian Mbappe should wait before following in his footsteps by making a move abroad.
Benzema, 29, made the switch from Lyon to Madrid in 2009 and has established himself as one of Europe's top strikers at the Santiago Bernabeu, winning two Champions Leagues and a La Liga title.
Media reports last month suggested Madrid are this summer ready to extend the France international's contract beyond its current expiry in 2019, and he told RMC he could happily see out his playing days with the European champions.
"I dream of finishing my career [at Real]," he said. "Frankly, apart from Real Madrid, there are no other clubs that make my eyes light up, even after eight seasons. It's here that I like it the most. For me, Real has been the best club in the world for years."
Madrid are among a number of clubs, including Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona, reportedly pursuing Benzema's compatriot Mbappe.
The 18-year-old's stunning performances in Monaco's Champions League round-of-16 win over City provoked speculation that the teenager could move on in a big-money transfer this summer.
Benzema was just 21 when he took the step up to Madrid, and having initially struggled to adapt, he believes Mbappe, who has just 33 league games under his belt in France, should be patient and stay at Monaco for now.
"I've been told he is a phenomenon, a very good player," he said. "Honestly, I still haven't seen him. He's a young player. Football is really hard, especially at big clubs. I arrived at Madrid at 21. I had already done a lot of things at Lyon, but when I got here I got a slap in the face.
"My first year was too difficult. You're far from your family, it's not the same. Those who are next to you are there to take your place. It's very difficult. But from what people have said, he's a very good player, and I hope he'll have a great career, little by little.
"I think you mustn't leave too soon. Things go well, but the day when it goes less well, that's the problem. He's 18, how do you handle it when it doesn't go as well, when people don't speak as well about you, when you're put under pressure?"
Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman