Real Madrid resumed training after the winter break and the Christmas celebrations last week which saw the return of long term absentee Gonzalo Higuain from a hamstring tear he suffered a couple of months back. Higuain’s return will be like a new signing for Mourinho, who is in desperate need of some good results. However the debate that has been talked about many a times in the past and which is not going to end any time soon is always there. Higuain or Benzema?
Both are exceptional strikers who have contributed to the cause of Madrid. But the fact is, that the two need one another, as is often the case when it comes to professional rivalry. Madrid have missed Higuain, and the fact that he is still the side’s second top scorer (with 7 goals) behind Ronaldo in La Liga, after almost two months out injured, suggests that without the threat of his Argentine teammate, Benzema is under less pressure to perform on the goalscoring front.
That’s to say, the intense competition between the two to lead the Whites attack has lessened. To be fair to Karim Benzema, he has been in and out of injury himself and his link-up play when it comes to Madrid’s attack has still been crucial in the goals they have scored so far. But, this season the Frenchman has scored just 4 league goals in 14 games, eight of those matches as a starter. Higuain has played 10, started in 7 and scored 7. Curiously, by contrast, in the Champions League – a competition it seems Benzema was made for – he has scored 3 in 5.
(Higuain is yet to score in Europe) No one is more aware then Madrid coach Mourinho of how important the healthy competition between the two is for the good of the team. The Portuguese coach knew exactly what he was doing when he famously referred to the two as a dog and a cat. “If I can’t hunt with a dog (Higuain), I’ll have to make do with a cat (Benzema).” Back then, Mourinho was not happy with the Frenchman’s attitude and used tough love tactics to get the best out of him. It worked.
Benzema was one of the most crucial components in Madrid’s record points/goals title win last season. It’s said that Mou credits this competition between the two for such a fabulous showing from his number 9 in the last campaign. He’ll be glad to get Higuain back, to reignite the rivalry between the two for the starting spot up top. Not only for the good of his two front men, but more importantly, for the good of the team.