Rio Ferdinand hails ‘complete striker’ Karim Benzema after Real Madrid man moves joint fourth on list of all-time Champions League scorers with 71 – as pundit claims Chelsea would have won the first leg if he had been playing in blue
Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole heaped praise upon Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema after his goal against Chelsea on Tuesday saw him move joint-fourth on the list of all-time Champions League scorers.
Benzema’s ruthless finish in the 29th minute of the game salvaged a drew for Real Madrid after Christian Pulisic claimed a vital away goal for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
The strike saw Benzema take his all-time Champions League tally to 71, level with another Real hero in the legendary striker Raul.
Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring an excellent goal in Real Madrid’s draw with Chelsea
Benzema converted a thunderous strike from close range after his team had fallen behind
‘If he [Benzema] is in the Chelsea team today they win today and at Stamford Bridge (in next week’s second leg),’ Ferdinand told BT Sport. ‘Complete striker. He has got all the basic fundamentals down to a tee. He is a top technician.’
Former Chelsea midfielder Cole was also left impressed by the Frenchman’s display.
‘He [Benzema] has become a leader,’ Cole said. ‘He led the line. He was the bright spark in the first 30 minutes, the game was running away from them.
‘It was an exquisite finish, on the turn – a top, top striker at the very best of his game. He celebrated to his mate (Sergio) Ramos (who was injured an watching from the stands).
‘Chelsea need to keep him quiet in the second led because he is the difference maker.’
Rio Ferdinand said Chelsea would have won the game if they had Karim Benzema in blue
The Frenchman, 33, has been at Real Madrid since 2009 when he joined from French side Lyon and has won four Champions League titles with the Spanish giants.
His 71st Champions League goal not only moves his joint fourth on the all-time scorer list but he is also two strikes behind Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, who has 73 goals to his name.
The runaway leaders are Barcelona’s Lionel Messi on 120 and Benzema’s former Real team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who leads the way with 134 goals.
Ex-Chelsea midfielder Cole said his old club faced a striker ‘at the very best of his game’