There was a specific moment in Wednesday’s Clasico when there had been 80 minutes of football and the Supercopa de Espana had been won in all but name, but Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema continued to pressure Ivan Rakitic on the edge of Keylor Navas’ penalty area with the Frenchman’s attitude symbolic of Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid.
Benzema’s career in Madrid has been a fine one with the forward remaining extremely popular amongst supporters, however at a time when he has found challenges in his personal life Zidane stuck by him and now the former Lyon striker returns the favour on the pitch.
Such a selfless attitude is welcome in a team that has many stars, although in 2017 it is difficult to pick out many of Real Madrid’s current starting line-up that have a selfish streak.
Where other coaches have failed with Benzema, Zidane has succeeded in a way nobody could have predicted when he took over from Rafael Benitez.
It is easy to point towards the 29-year-old’s record with other coaches and suggest he isn’t the greatest teammate yet with his compatriot something appears to have clicked.
Zidane’s man management skills are arguably his greatest asset and perhaps it stems from his own experience as a player at the very top level, but he somehow founds a way of making every player feel important.
Sir Alex Ferguson is renowned for making even fringe players feel as though their decisive moment in a season would eventually come and the former Castilla coach is no different.
Benzema’s performance in Wednesday match was indicative of that.
Speculation surrounding Kylian Mbappe’s potential arrival as well as the need to find a position for Gareth Bale could have made other players uncomfortable yet it has had no impact on Benzema.
He feels the confidence of his coach and as such is willing to run through metaphorical walls for him.
There was no need for the French forward to chase Rakitic back in his own penalty area, nobody would have noticed or indeed minded if he hadn’t yet the fact he showed such willing is indicative of the desire he has to be part of Zidane’s new Real Madrid.
It’s something that has spread through the team and it is little coincidence that in just 19 months the current Los Blancos squad has lifted seven trophies.