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Aug 4, 2009

Lyon president: I was right to sell Benzema

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas says he was right to to sell Karim Benzema.

The club's stranglehold on the Ligue 1 crown was ended last season when after seven successive titles they finished the campaign empty-handed.

It has been a busy summer at the Stade Gerland where they have spent €72m on Lisandro Lopez, Aly Cissokho, Bafetimbi Gomis and Michel Bastos.

Benzema was sold to Real Madrid for €41m and Aulas is confident they got a good price for the France striker.

"I don't regret it,'' he told L'Equipe. "Those who think that €41m is not enough for a player who is 21 years old do not know the market. We got Lisandro and Bafe Gomis for that price. Of course neither one nor the other will replace him.

"But in the context of OL, surely it's the right decision for Karim, for (coach) Claude Puel and for both of them?''

Aulas added: "I don't really like the term spending. Let's say we invested. I felt we needed to do something and go towards the English model because we wanted to grow.

"We have a four-year plan. We're taking the risk of building. Let those who think that I negotiated badly, both in selling and buying, come explain to me how they would have done better.''

Lyon finished third in the league last season, nine points behind champions Bordeaux. And Aulas believes it should have been a different story.

"When you see how seven successive titles have been immediately trivialised, well you need a discussion,'' he said. "You can look at everything you want to analyse why we're not champions, there was a sack of refereeing errors, at Bordeaux and Paris St Germain for example.

"This season we want to win the the league and go as far as possible in the Champions League.''

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