Real Madrid may have lifted a third consecutive Champions League trophy on Saturday and their fourth in the last five years, but it’s clear this team needs something of a revamp for next season. Whereas previous European campaigns have been conquered through vibrancy in attack, Los Blancos trudged their way to this season’s final – relying on their experience, shape and moments of individual brilliance.
Likewise, Real Madrid’s iconic forward line isn’t getting any younger. Cristiano Ronaldo is now 33 and has become a different kind of player, one who sticks to the width of the penalty area rather than driving at defences from out wide. Gareth Bale is 28 and continues to have his influence limited by injury problems. Karim Benzema, meanwhile, turned 30 in December and has just come to the end of his least potent season since his debut term at the Bernabeu – managing just 12 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions.
But if Ronaldo’s synonymy with Real Madrid and the Ballon d’Or still renders him an indispensable part of this team, and if Bale’s stunning bicycle kick on Saturday has given him a stay of execution for at least another season, it’s perhaps Benzema who now finds himself the most expendable big name in Real Madrid’s attack. While he’s often praised for his partnership with Ronaldo, it’s clear the Portuguese needs to be surrounded by energy and speed more than ever before – but that’s precisely what is seeping out of the Frenchman’s game.
Looking around the Premier League, a top flight that has often appeared naturally suited to Benzema’s rugged power and aerial ability, Chelsea quite neatly fit the bill. In fact, they’ve recently been linked with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski following an underwhelming debut campaign from Alvaro Morata and the Poland international is of a similar profile to the Real Madrid star – there’s only eight months between them in terms of age, both are amongst the most proven goalscorers around and they come with an abundance of title-winning experience.
And while Benzema may not quite be the force he appeared a few years ago, it shouldn’t be forgotten how talented the centre-forward is, and how well suited he’d be for the Blues’ 3-4-3 setup. Although Loris Karis bears the vast majority of responsibility for Real Madrid’s opening goal on Saturday, the ill-fated throw still required Benzema to be on his toes and stab an effort towards goal. The powerful striker showed his ability to bring others into the game as well, creating two chances, and that’s exactly what Chelsea’s front three needs; someone who can get Willian and Eden Hazard on the ball around the penalty area.
That’s not to suggest Benzema, who Transfermarkt value at £45million, will definitely be leaving the Spanish capital this summer. Zinedine Zidane is a fan of his qualities, particularly in tandem with Ronaldo, and his contract doesn’t expire for another three years. But should he be made available, who would you rather see your club sign this summer, Chelsea fans? Let us know by voting below…