Benzema plans pay back on former club Lyon

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema believes his former club Lyon are in safe hands under manager Claude Puel.

France international Benzema spent his final season at Lyon under Puel before joining Real for a reported fee of 35 million euros.

Now in his second season in La Liga, Benzema will return to the Stade de Gerland on Tuesday for the first leg of a Champions League round of 16 tie.

And with 49-year-old tactician Puel in the home dugout, Benzema has no illusions about the challenge facing the Spanish visitors.

“He (Puel) is a very good coach, and he is at a club now which is competing for the title and playing in the Champions League on a regular basis, so he has the chance to get the success there that he deserves,” Benzema told Ligue1.com.

“Without doubt, he is a top coach.”

Benzema was part of the Real team that lost 2-1 on aggregate to Lyon over two legs at the same stage of the competition last season.

And the 23-year-old is keen to pay the French side back by moving ino the last eight at their expense this time.

“It’s always great to go back to the club where I started my career,” he said.

“I have many fantastic memories from my time there, but as much as I love Lyon, I really hope we can beat them this time.”

“The mistake we made last year was that we just felt we were superior to them without proving it on the pitch.”

“Everyone here dismissed Lyon as a team that we would easily beat, but it was not like that, and it will be really tough again this time.”

“Their team has changed a lot from my time there. Half the players there now were not at the club with me.”

“I don’t speak with many of their current players, and I don’t get to see as many of their games as I would like but there is no doubt that they remain a very good side.”

“They have been on a terrific run recently, putting together win after win, and every time they play against Madrid they make it an incredibly tough game.”