​Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari, has hailed the impact of star forward Karim Benzema, claiming that the Frenchman fails to get the plaudits that he deserves, with many not understanding the importance of his contribution to the team.

The 31-year-old was once again on the scoresheet, netting a brace as the Los Blancos eased past Girona 3-1 in the second-leg of the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday. In fact, Benzema has now scored five goals in his last three games, with the Frenchman combining well with youngster Vinicius Junior.

The striker has often been criticised for his lack of end product, but he has been crucial for Madrid and has compensated for the absence of Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio who were out with injuries.

The Spaniard believes that Benzema does not get the credit he deserves and that he has been unfairly maligned by the Bernabeu fan base.

“I’m sorry for those who have discovered Benzema last week. But hey, they still have time to enjoy him, he is in a great moment, it’s true,” Solari said post the game.

The striker has been an essential part of the Los Blancos squad, ever since he moved to Madrid from Lyon in 2009 and has so far made 445 appearances, scoring 207 goals and helping the club win two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey’s and four UEFA Champions League honours.


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