Rio Ferdinand gives Karim Benzema highest praise imaginable

Rio Ferdinand Karim Benzema

Completely deserved.

Rio Ferdinand has given Karim Benzema the highest praise imaginable, insisting he is up there with the best players of this generation.

Benzema scored and assisted in Real Madrid’s 3-2 win over Barcelona on Wednesday night, with the Frenchman still one of the best players on the pitch in El Classico.

Before the game, Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves recalled a time Manchester United played Lyon in 2008, and Benzema gave the pair a torrid time.

Almost 14 years on, and Benzema is still up there with the best players in the world, and Ferdinand referred to him as the most “sound striker” he ever played against.

Rio Ferdinand on Karim Benzema

He said: “Fundamentally, he is the most sound striker I’ve played against in my career. I’ve played against better players, or players who have given me a harder time, but in all areas of his game, he was the most sound in all areas. He is a fabulous technician.

“His level has gone up. When Ronaldo was at Madrid, I thought he was a fabulous player. But since Ronaldo has left, his responsibility has gone up and he’s taken it on his shoulders. He’s gotten better, better output. He’s been phenomenal.”

Given the players Ferdinand would have marked throughout his lengthy career, referring to Benzema as the most technically sound of the lot is extremely high praise.

After the game, Hargreaves said that he is one of the most under-appreciated strikers of this generation.

He said: “His game intelligence is great, his linkup play and assists are phenomenal. He’s aging brilliantly, like Robert Lewandowski, he doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down. He doesn’t rely on pace, he relies on his instincts.

Benzema’s Madrid side have PSG in the knockout round of the Champions League, where it will be interesting to see if he is able to perform at the top level against one of the best sides in the world.

He will potentially be marked by his old teammate Sergio Ramos, with whom he won everything at Madrid.

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