Karim Benzema told he ‘wasn’t a real athlete until he was 30’ after Real Madrid heroics

Real Madrid v Man City: Match in pictures

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Karim Benzema has been told that he wasn’t a ‘real athlete’ until he hit his thirties by Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger, with the former manager claiming he was two or three kilos overweight until four years ago.

Benzema stole the headlines again with his winner for Real Madrid against Manchester City in the most dramatic of circumstances. All hope seemed lost after Riyad Mahrez had put the away side 1-0 up, leading 5-3 on aggregate with just 20 minutes to play.

But Rodrygo’s double in the space of just 89 seconds left City crestfallen and reinvigorated Real to kick on in extra time. The Frenchman was key to the comeback with his assist for Rodrygo’s first sparking the fightback for the La Liga winners.

Benzema then hit the winner from the spot in extra time to set up a Champions League final clash with Liverpool. After his goal sent his side to Paris, Wenger praised the star for ageing like a fine wine – and claimed his stunning form could be down to him not being half a stone overweight like he was in his 20s. “It is something interesting that we are seeing across Europe now: the oldest strikers are the most efficient,” Wenger said.

“Robert Lewandowski (33), Benzema, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (40), they are scoring goals at 35 and at 40. The best strikers in Europe are all over 30 years of age. They use every opponent’s mistake.

“Benzema, I would say until 30, had two or three kilos too many. Now he’s a real athlete and that’s why today, certainly, he’s one of the two or three best strikers in the world.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s men will face Liverpool in Paris on May 28 in the showpiece final.

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Having won the league title, they could look to complete a spectacular double.

Meanwhile, the Reds are still on track for an unprecedented quadruple with the Carabao Cup already won and the Premier League and FA Cup in their sights.

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