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Arsène Wenger: “Karim Benzema had two or three kilos too many. Now he’s a real athlete.”

During beIN SPORTS coverage of the second-leg of the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester City, former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger praised Karim Benzema’s (34) game intelligence, as well as his improvements in physical conditioning. 

I would say he’s a demonstration of intelligence and efficiency. Everything he does is intelligent and looks simple. When I see him play, I think I could do the same. He smells the rhythm of the game like nobody else,” began Wenger.

Wenger went on to highlight the trend of striker’s improving as they move into their thirties. “It is something interesting that we are seeing across Europe now: the oldest strikers are the most efficient. Robert Lewandowski (33), Benzema, Zlatan Ibrahimović (40), they are scoring goals at 35 and at 40. The best strikers in Europe are all over 30 years of age. They use every opponent’s mistake.

Benzema, I would say, until 30, had two or three kilos too many. Now he’s a real athlete and that’s why today, certainly, he’s one of the two or three best strikers in the world.”

Benzema scored the crucial penalty in extra-time of Wednesday’s Champions League second-leg against Manchester City. Real Madrid will face Liverpool in the final at the Parc des Princes on 28th May.

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