"It's just a time of adaptation" - Karim Benzema says anyone who criticizes PSG superstar Lionel Messi knows 'nothing about football'
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has come out to blast those who have criticized Lionel Messi at PSG.
The France international was quoted by Telefoot (as translated by @MadridXtra) stating his belief that the former Barcelona maestro is going to succeed in France.
"How is Leo Messi not going to succeed? It's just a time of adaptation, because he doesn't score many goals. But look at what he does on the pitch! You can't criticize him."
“Anyone who criticizes Messi understands nothing about football.”
Benzema and Lionel Messi spent over a decade on opposite sides of the biggest rivalry in club football but that has not stopped the Frenchman from lending support.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has struggled since his high-profile transfer to PSG, leading many to criticize the 33-year-old.
However, Benzema's comments serve as a reminder of what the Argentina international is capable of and it is fool-hardy to write him off just a few months into this new chapter.
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PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino confirmed this in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Reims, saying:
“I am happy. Having Leo in the squad is always a boost for performance. He helps the team. I want to remind you that he has 7 Ballons d’Or’s, so we know what he represents and can bring to the group.”
“He trained well this week, and we are satisfied with his progress. He will be in the group tomorrow. It’s always good news when players come back to help the team,”
PSG currently sit eight points clear at the summit of Ligue 1 and a victory over Reims would give them a 11-point advantage over second-placed Nice.
A return to the summit of French domestic football would represent a positive step for PSG considering their travails last season. However, it is on the continent where their major aspirations lie.
The club have spent billions of Euros on player transfers to become a mega club over the last decade but they are yet to become European champions.
It is for this reason that Lionel Messi was signed, considering his wealth of experience in the tournament.
Old rivalries will be renewed when the UEFA Champions League resumes in February. One of the standout fixtures of the round-of-16 pits European royalty Real Madrid against aspiring giants PSG.
One of the many sub-plots will see former allegiances tested in the case of Sergio Ramos, while Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi will be tasked with leading their teams from the front.