Benzema names Ben Arfa as skilled as Messi

  • Real Madrid ace branded Ronaldo selfish, but insists it’s good for Real Madrid

MADRID: Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has named a surprise player he believes is as skilled as FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Not many are considered to have the talent Messi was born with, with many pundits feeling that not even Cristiano Ronaldo is as naturally skilled as the Argentine. However, Benzema, who has gone up against Messi countless times in his career, believes that Paris Saint-Germain winger Hatem Ben Arfa is as talented as the 30-year-old.

“Ben Arfa has talent at (Lionel) Messi’s level,” he said. “I am not fooling around. It hurts me to see his (Ben Arfa’s) current situation at PSG.” The French winger has not played a single game this season for PSG, and also struggled for regular game time at the French giants in the 2016/17 campaign.

Ben Arfa earned his move to Les Parisians two years ago, after scoring 18 goals in 34 matches for Nice. On the other hand, Benzema has branded Cristiano Ronaldo selfish, but insists it’s good for Real Madrid. Both Benzema and Ronaldo make up two-thirds of Real’s devastating BBC front-line that has fired the club to back-to-back Champions League titles.

But they are struggling this season with Gareth Bale the top La Liga scorer of the trio with just two goals. Ronaldo and Benzema have one each and trail Bale despite him being out since the middle of September with Real Madrid already eight points behind Barcelona in the title race.

And Benzema has revealed an insight into their dynamics – having played mostly in a pair with Ronaldo throughout this season. “We get along well, I like to play with him. In the end, his selfishness doesn’t bother me, it is good for the team.” The 29-year-old France outcast has been at Madrid since 2009 but his time appears to be coming to an end. Madrid have been linked with moves for Harry Kane, Antoine Griezmann and even Neymar.

And Benzema has felt the brunt of the Madrid fans’ criticism this term having struggling in front of goal. “It’s difficult, especially in Spain, where sometimes you don’t understand it,” he said of the crowd booing the players. “The hardest part is when the criticism comes from your own fans. They are normally there to boost you.”