July 11, 2009

Karim Benzema's first interview:I am happy to be playing here

Karim Benzema held his first interview with the club's official media outlets. The Frenchman expressed that playing for Real Madrid had been a lifelong desire and that it is an honor for him to don the Madridista kit.

Welcome to Madrid. How do you feel now that you are here?

I feel good and I am very happy to be here. I am anxious to begin playing for Real Madrid.

What did you think when you first found out that Real Madrid were interested in signing you?

It’s the team I dreamed about playing for when I was small. I was very happy and had no second thoughts.

Why did you choose Real Madrid and not another club?

There are many clubs, but this club has prestige. I dreamed about playing here as a child, which is why I am here now.

You are from Lyon and played for Olympique. Was it hard for you to leave you home town to move to Madrid?

Yes because I played for Lyon between the time I was nine and now. I had several great moments there. I played a lot of good matches. Leaving my family and playing for a new club is a new adventure, but I am very happy to be here.

How did those closest to you react when you decided to join Real Madrid?

They were happy because my whole family loves this club. They always give me advice, but I had to make the final decision, and this is where I wanted to be.

Florentino Perez went to Lyon to see you. What did he say to you that convinced you to come to Madrid?

Florentino is a great president. He also brought Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo to Real Madrid. He came to my house and we talked. He is a great person and he convinced me by saying that he is building a great team with great players. That is why I was sure I wanted to come here.

You mention Zinedine Zidane. Has he had any influence over your career?

No. He did not influence my decisión. But he was one of the best players ever and he had a great career.

You are also a big Ronaldo fan. Tell us a little about the store of the shirt.

Ronaldo was here a long time ago to play against Olympique Lyonnais, but unfortunately I couldn’t play. Gerard Houllier and Jean-Michel Aulas, who coached then, surprised me by bringing me a shirt signed by Ronaldo. It made me very happy.

You play in the same position as Ronaldo. Do you have a lot in common?

I don’t know if I have anything in common with him, but he did inspire me a lot. I think he was the best striker in the world and many times I try to emulate him on the pitch.

Is there anyone in particular who has influenced you career from the very beginning?

My family. My parents have always stuck by my side to make sure I was always the best at what I did. I am eternally grateful.

Does you arrival represent the start of a new stage in your career?

It naturally represents a step upwards. I worked very hard to be the best French striker when I was at Olympique. This is a new start for me. I will have the privilege of playing with great footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka. I think I will learn a lot from them. I still have to improve and learn, and I will do so faster in time.

You will also play with your friend Diarra. What can you tell us of him?

He is a great player. I met him on the French national team. He is young and I believe he is a fantastic player.

What do you think of Raul’s track record?

Raul is also a phenomenal striker; he is currently the all-time top-scorer in the Champions League. He is also the symbol of Real Madrid. I will probably ask him for a lot of advice.

Is the French league very different from La Liga?

I think it is. More goals are scored per game here in Spain. The game flows better than in France, where football is more tactical.

Do you think you will have to change the way you play?

I don’t because I like this type of touch football. I enjoy Spanish football.

How do you imagine your first match at the Bernabeu will be like?

I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience. I hope I have a great debut.

Do you think Real Madrid have chances of playing the Champions League final at the Bernabeu next year?

We will first have to have a good start to the season. There are many new players on the team, but I think our individual talents may help us reach far.

Do you think playing for Real Madrid could help you win the Ballon d’Or some day?

The first was to sign for a club like this and that’s been done. I now have to work hard and learn a lot to win La Liga, the Champions league and other titles.

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