Zinedine Zidane will not ask Real Madrid to sign a striker in the January transfer window despite Karim Benzema’s latest dry spell extending to three matches.
The France international drew another blank as Madrid came from behind to beat Al Jazira 2-1 in the Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, Benzema missing presentable chances and twice being denied by the woodwork.
Goals from fellow ‘BBC’ members Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo turned the game around for Spanish and European champions Madrid, booking a place in the Club World Cup final, where they will face Copa Libertadores titleholders Gremio.
While Madrid have been strongly linked with a move for Inter captain Mauro Icardi, Zidane denied he will be asking the club’s board to deliver a new forward, having missed out on Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the season.
“I’m not going to ask for a signing at all,” Zidane said after Wednesday’s win. “Karim is fine, he has not scored.
“You can always give an opinion, it seems that Karim has to always score, he has played well, he has moved well, he and Cristiano.
“I’m a little disappointed because he wanted to score, I’m happy with everyone’s game. Yes, we have suffered, but it happens in football, sometimes the ball does not want to go in and we have to play with this from time to time.”
While Benzema endured a difficult game, Bale made an immediate impact on his return from injury by scoring the winning goal, although Madrid’s win could have been more emphatic if video assistant replay (VAR) decisions had gone their way.
And Zidane, while happy with Bale’s contribution, felt VAR needs to be improved, with the technology set to be adopted by La Liga from next season.
“I’m happy for Bale and he is happy,” Zidane added. “He comes on and makes a difference.
“It’s a well-deserved result, the ball did not want to go in in the first half and we cannot explain why we have so many chances and we do not score.
“It was a difficult game for us, now we have to think about the final. The goal of Casemiro – what the referee calls is an offside, I did not speak with him, the only thing, without going into details is that we take three or four minutes for a VAR decision. It’s not nice, really. If they say it faster, okay, but three or four minutes go by.
“We saw the first semi-final yesterday and the game against Lanus, I know this team Gremio, but I do not know the Brazilian league very well, I do not look at it every day, we know they’re a good football team. It’s going to be difficult again.”