Karim Benzema happy with Real Madrid form

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has returned to form after a frustrating journey through a goalscoring wilderness and the timing could scarcely be better for the nine-times European champions.

Thanks to the France international's goal in last month's 1-1 first-leg draw, Real are well placed to get past Benzema's former club Olympique Lyon on Wednesday and reach the last eight for the first time since 2004.

"What happened was I found myself again, I found my true level again," Benzema said in an interview with Spanish sports daily As published on Monday.

"I am in a purple patch in my career and I know I have to make the most of it," he added, as Real prepare to take on the side that knocked them out at the same stage last term.

The 23-year-old Benzema struggled to live up to expectations in the Spanish capital following his 35 million-euro ($49 million) move from Lyon in 2009.

After Gonzalo Higuain succumbed to a long-term back injury, coach Jose Mourinho has shown more faith and a double in Saturday's 2-0 win over Hercules took his tally to eight in his last six outings and 19 in all competitions for the season.

A further boost to Mourinho is the news joint La Liga top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo could be back from injury after the Portugal forward sat out the last two league matches with a leg muscle injury.

Benzema secured his dream move to Spain after scoring 43 goals over five seasons for Lyon, helping them to four league titles. He was Ligue 1's top scorer in 2007-08 with 20 goals.

He has netted five in his last three Champions League games and has a total of 18 in just 30 matches in Europe's elite club competition for Real and Lyon.

"At the moment everything I do is turning out well. That little bit of luck is helping me score a lot of goals," he said.

Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas knows Benzema well and said the striker's return to form was bad news for his club.

"I saw him play for France against Brazil in Paris (last month) and he is a better player now in every sense, physically and mentally," he told sports daily Marca on Monday.

"I think he sent a very clear message to Mourinho in the first leg when he scored just after coming on. Mourinho is obliged to play him and he has no choice but to play well. It's not good news for us."

Lyon, on an unbeaten run of seven games in all competitions, warmed up for Wednesday's match with a 2-0 win at Sochaux.

Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez has four goals in two games and looks in devastating form and Lyon could welcome back France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and Brazil centre back Cris from injury.

"We should be at full strength," coach Claude Puel told reporters after the Sochaux game, although fullback Aly Cissokho is doubtful with a thigh strain.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?