Football - Real Madrid v Barcelona - Liga BBVA - Santiago Bernabeu - 21/11/15 Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring the first goal for Barcelona as Real Madrid's Karim Benzema look on - Reuters/Stringer Livepic
CAIRO - 22 December 2017: Both have number '9' on their backs but their style and way of interpreting the role of the center forward is very different.
Karim Benzema and Luis Suárez will be the protagonists of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona this Saturday in ‘El Clasico’ because they are essential for Real Madrid`s coach Zinedine Zidane and Barcelona`s coach Ernesto Valverde.
Despite Real Madrid winning the Club World Cup title, Benzema was not up to par with his team in terms of numbers. The French attacker crashed several shots to the post and missed goal chances in front of Al-Jazira from UAE in the semi-final and Gremio from Brazil in the final.
Nevertheless, Zinedine Zidane not only keeps him in the team`s line-up every game, but also defends him as long as he is physically well.
The ironic comment that English legend Gary Líneker said months ago, questioning the quality of Benzema’s performance at Real Madrid, fueled the debate. His defenders, with Zidane at the forefront, highlighted his ability to generate spaces for Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid winger, his tactical intelligence to open the rival`s defenses with his strikes diagonally and his ability to play with the ball in the rival’s area.
Benzema, whose numbers in this 2017/18 League season are as follows: in 11 games, scored 2 goals, provided 3 assists and 2 shots to the posts, is highly debated indeed.
Some criticize his lack of blood ans spark; others insist on his technical quality, his strength to withstand the power stations when he presses in the final meters of the pitch and his willingness to be the luxury assistant of Cristiano for years. But all of them praise and yearn for Álvaro Morata who now triumphs at Chelsea.
Luis Suárez enters this Saturday's Clasico at the peak of the season after having suffered some physical problems that have conditioned his performance.
'Luisito' has taken advantage of these suffering moments to come back with 6 goals in the last 5 league games; 4 of them in the 3 most recent games.
However, the Uruguayan has not reached his peak performance yet, but has of course regained his combating spirit. He fights each ball as if it were the last one, he starts the pressure, and he continually looks for the teammates to join him in the play.
Luis Suarez is, perhaps, one of Barcelona’s players who has noticed the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian not only balanced the Barcelona attack, since his arrival in 2014, and combined the first touch, but also caused problems to rivals by attracting their defense to the left wing and providing his teammates with more space.
Suarez keeps his best partner, Leo Messi, and it seems that he is back on track as his numbers in the League prove: 13 games, 9 goals, 1 assist and 2 posts.