Real Madrid passed on the opportunity to sign Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic after Karim Benzema threatened to join Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), El Nacional has reported. Last season, Benzema turned out to be unplayable in Spain and Europe, firing Madrid to La Liga and Champions League glory and deservedly winning the Ballon d’Or in November.
Despite Benzema’s breathtaking return last season, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has been pushing the club to sign a backup centre-forward. The Italian manager thinks it is reckless of them to pin all their hopes on the 35-year-old striker. Understandably, the Frenchman has failed to maintain the same level this season, picking up multiple injuries since the start of the 2022-23 campaign.
According to the aforementioned source, Madrid initially wanted to bring Kylian Mbappe from PSG as Benzema’s successor ahead of the 2022-23 season. However, after the Frenchman made a u-turn, they found themselves lacking a suitable successor.
Erling Haaland had already signed for Manchester City and moves for Christopher Nkunku, Edin Dzeko, and Edinson Cavani fell through, partially due to Benzema. According to El Nacional, Benzema did not want to risk reducing his minutes by welcoming a direct replacement.
Madrid were reportedly given the opportunity to sign Dusan Vlahovic in the winter, with the Serbian expressing his desire to leave Turin due to the ongoing crisis. Benzema, who reportedly has an offer on the table from PSG, got wind of the rumors and expressed his concern about playing time.
Looking to avoid a crisis and stop Benzema from potentially joining PSG, Madrid rejected the opportunity to sign Vlahovic. The club, however, could be open to taking more drastic measures in the summer.
Benzema, whose contract with Madrid expires in June 2023, has featured in 20 games for the club across competitions this season, scoring 13 goals.
Daniel Carvajal admits playing for Real Madrid “is not easy,” acknowledges mental strain
Academy graduate-turned-first-teamer Daniel Carvajal is one of the most diligent players for Los Blancos. The Spaniard, who has spent 10 years with the first team and 20 years in total, has endured hardships and enjoyed unimaginable success over the years.
Five Champions League titles and 351 senior-team games later, Carvajal has opened up about the difficulty of representing the team. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Carvajal admitted that it was impossible for a Madrid player to switch off.
“Playing for Real Madrid is not easy, neither for better nor for worse. You know that even if you are on your own with free time you are always representing Real Madrid, that everything you do has a huge impact — that requires a very high mental demand,” Carvajal said.
“I have achieved almost all my personal goals, I have helped Real Madrid expand their winning records, and I have spent more than ten years in the first team, 20 in total wearing the club’s shirt.”
Carvajal has been below his brilliant best in the 2022-23 season, claiming only three assists in 21 games across competitions.