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.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Ricky Gervais performs stand-up
people
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering