champions league news

Pellegrini insists Benzema is fitting in at Real

December 8, 2009

Karim Benzema has adjusted well to his new life at Real Madrid, his coach Manuel Pellegrini said on Monday ahead of the Spanish side's Champions League clash at Olympique Marseille.

Real need a win on Tuesday at the Stade Velodrome if they are to top Group C, while a draw would be enough to see them through to the last 16, and Benzema could play his part in his team's qualification.

The France striker, who has been criticised in Spain for his problems settling at Real, scored once in a 4-2 win against Almeria on Saturday and showed at a news conference that he had started to learn Spanish.

"We will see when I unveil my starting line-up if Karim plays," Pellegrini told a news conference. "He is a young player who just joined last summer and had to settle and learn a new language. I think he achieved that.

"If he plays, I hope we will see a great Benzema."

France midfielder Lassana Diarra believes Benzema has what it takes to become a first-team regular.

"I think he is doing just fine in adjusting (to Real)," Diarra said. "I am convinced the best is yet to come for him."

Benzema, 21, joined from Olympique Lyon for a €30 million transfer fee during the close season but has failed to live up to expectations so far.

He has featured in 11 La Liga games this season, starting nine of them and scoring four goals.