Jose Mourinho has told talkSPORT of his joy at seeing Karim Benzema go from Real Madrid “bad boy” to legend and return to the France squad.
Benzema joined Madrid in 2009 from Lyon when he was just 19, along with superstars Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The French striker’s accomplishments at the Spanish club may have gone a bit unnoticed because of what Ronaldo has done.
His 279 goals saw them win four Champions Leagues, three La Ligas and two Copas del Rey.
Mourinho joined talkSPORT Breakfast on Friday morning and covered a wide range of topics including Euro 2020, England, Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Benzema.
Benzema has played 559 games for Madrid, scoring 279 times[/caption]
He said of his time managing the French striker: “Benzema at Madrid was a bad boy.
“It was a kid who arrived the previous season from Lyon. He was 19 when he went to Madrid and that was too much for him at the time.
“Gradually, he was an incredible player. We talk about Harry (Kane) for example and we turn to Karim and many similar qualities.
“He’s the kind of forward who, if he doesn’t score a lot of goals, still plays so well for the team. Karim is a fantastic player.
When he insisted more on what he meant by being a ‘bad boy’, Mourinho added: ‘When I say bad boy, I mean he was a young man, not married, not with children and the family life He is very stable and mature.
“He thinks about football and thinks of winning and thinks of being a legend with this club, which he already is.
“He’ll probably be the next captain when Ramos leaves. Karim becomes an icon of Real Madrid. What he did when Cristiano Ronaldo left everyone now thought he had a big problem.
“There wasn’t a big deal because Karim was there and taking control of that attacking power for Los Blancos.
“I love him and he knows it and I hope I can give him something during this time we’ve been together. Three years. I’m pretty sure I gave him something.
Benzema made 83 appearances for France, scoring 27 goals[/caption]
Benzema was brought back from international exile this year, having not played a match for his country since 2015.
He missed Euro 2016 and had to look aside as they won the 2018 World Cup.
Mourinho admitted he was happy to see the striker represent his country.
He said: “If it works in France, it’s to be afraid because imagine Karim falling, getting between the lines, the quality of his pass and the finish.
“Then with Griezmann and Mbappe coming in from the sides. Oh wow!
Griezmann, Mbappe and Benzema’s top three French appear deadly for Euro 2020[/caption]
“Physically he’s great now. He takes care of his body. He’s stronger than he was ten years ago.
“His feet are fast. He is fantastic. I’m so happy after this period when he didn’t play for the national team as we know.
“I’m so happy he’s coming back because he’s an amazing player.”
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