Benzema has Mourinho backing
Karim Benzema is confident he retains the support of Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho despite admitting his frustration at a lack of playing time at the Spanish champions.
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9. Karim Benzema
Benzema has shown only flashes of his potential since moving to the Bernabeu from Lyon in July 2009, and continues to share the starting role in attack with Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain.
Reports in Spain suggest Higuain may miss the next month with a thigh injury, potentially opening the door for Benzema if he himself can overcome an adductor niggle which is likely to rule him out of Sunday's trip to Levante.
The problem also meant Benzema was not called up for France duty next week, adding to his sense of annoyance.
He told L'Equipe: "I have wanted to play more. From the beginning of the season I have spent more time on the bench than on the field, but I will continue fighting to get the minutes they give me."
Benzema was quick to stress he bore no grudge against Mourinho, however.
He added: "He's always behind me and never lets me give up.
"When things go well, he tells me regularly and when you are not doing so well he tells me it's okay.
"It's all to keep me up to a high standard."
Benzema scored 21 goals in Madrid's run to the Primera Division title last season but has managed just one so far in 2012/13.
He has also failed to score on his last nine France appearances.
The 24-year-old insists he is not concerned by the statistics and instead prefers to focus on the collective.
"I am not worried because I have made decisive passes," he said.
"If you want, I could stop providing assists, play on my own in the box and score goals.
"I could do that but it would be detrimental to the team."