Karim Benzema received a standing ovation as he entered the Groupama Stadium on Tuesday. The French National Team were up against Finland for a World Cup Qualifier encounter in Group D.
The stadium holds a special place in Benzema's heart since it is the home ground for Lyon. The French striker came through the youth ranks at the club and made his senior professional debut for them in 2006.
He went on to play for them until 2009 before leaving for Real Madrid. The 33-year-old striker is still playing for the Galacticos. He has 281 goals for the Spanish club in 562 games.
Benzema was overwhelmed by the reception. He explained to TF1:
"I have had a magnificent evening, I expected the ovation because Lyon and I have a love story. I have to thank the fans for having come en masse, I'm happy and proud. It has been one of my most beautiful nights, in addition the victory was very important for us."
France went on to win the match 2-0 against Finland. Benzema played his part by providing an assist for the opening goal.
Karim Benzema wants Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid
Real Madrid were linked with a move for Kylian Mbappe this summer. The Spanish club submitted a €200 million bid for the PSG star. However, the Parisian club turned it down despite Mbappe only having one year left on his contract.
Benzema feels even though Mbappe has not joined him in Madrid this summer, the PSG forward will play for the Galacticos one day.
“We get along really well, on and off the pitch. Of course that I’d like to have him at Madrid with me even today, but we have to respect his club, he’s there and that’s it. Anyway, he’s a player who will play for Real Madrid one day or another. I’m repeating myself but it’s the best club in the world,” said Benzema.
Real Madrid's poor financial condition
Real Madrid were in dire financial condition until recently. They let go of senior players like Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane to balance their books. Their only signing this summer was that of Eduardo Camavinga. The Frenchman joined Real Madrid for £34.4m.
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It was reported that Real have also prevented themselves from spending any money to save funds for Mbappe. Even if he joins them for free next summer, his wages are likely to be astronomical and cost Real Madrid a fortune.