THE FOOTBALL ROAST: BENZEMA VS MORATA
By Mac Izu Nelson
Real Madrid, the jewel of European football, with its 11 Champions League victories has seen a good number of prolific strikers.
From Ferenc Puskaz to Raul Gonzales, from Alfredo di Stefano to Ronaldo(R9).
Today’s roast dissects the performances of a certain Karim Benzema, and Alvaro Morata, who currently ply their trade for the Spanish outfit.
Karim Benzema: When Karim Mostafa Benzema in 2009, left Lyon for arguably the biggest club in world football, he must have done so with notions of gallantry in his head.
Maybe a last minute scissor kick in front of the watching Bernabeu to seal European cup glory?
Fans everywhere would also have half expected a player bustling with “tigritude” and copious amounts of flair.
And for the most part, football fans have not been disappointed.
Yet, when it comes to Benzema, there is always that niggling feeling that he can put in more than he does.
This is a striker who averages at least 20 goals per season in his last five seasons for the club yet at every spurned chance, there are calls to roast his head on a pyre.
In 18 appearances this term, Benzema has chipped in with 8 goals and an assist.
He has a pass success rate of 84% and he has been named man of the match on two occasions.
His all round play for Real Madrid is very crucial as he acts as the fulcrum for most of their counter attacks.
It is for this reason that coach Zinedine Zidane would always prefer Benzema over Morata.
Alvaro Morata: On the other hand we have Alvaro Borja Morata. Younger, more industrious, more tenacious, Alvaro Morata is the darling of the romantic Madridsta.
He made his senior debut from Real Madrid’s Castilla in 2010 and went on to score 52 goals for the club.
He also won the Champions League with Madrid in 2014 before departing for Juventus later that year.
It was in Juventus that the boy Alvaro was killed, and the man was born.
2015 saw Juventus astound football lovers all over the world by making it to the Champions League final, eliminating Real Madrid en route, and Morata, the forgotten stone, was crucial to that run.
It came as no surprise then when at the start of this season, Real Madrid activated a clause in the contract signed with Juventus which enabled them to sign Morata.
And the move is already paying dividends.
In 28 appearances this season, the forward has chipped in with 12 goals and 3 assists. In this regard he is behind Benzema when you consider the goals per game ratio. Also, with a pass success rate of 77% it can be argued that Benzema offers more in terms of all round contribution than the Spanish international.
So, while the average Madrid fan might continue to scoff at Benzema’s inclusion in any Madrid starting line up, the stats show that he is outperforming his rival for the number 9 spot.
Yes, Benzema would never be as dazzling as Ronaldo (R9), but he is a great of the game, and must be seen and respected as such.