Benzema is used to the transfer rumours – Zidane praises in-form striker

Karim Benzema scored in Real Madrid's draw with Leganes

Karim Benzema has been in fine form for Real Madrid this season, yet that has not stopped rumours the club may look to sign a new striker.

Zinedine Zidane does not believe that Karim Benzema has been affected by rumours that Real Madrid are looking to replace him for next season.

Benzema scored his fifth goal in four LaLiga fixtures – and 18th in total – on Monday, though it was only enough to secure a 1-1 draw away at Leganes.

The Frenchman has now netted Madrid’s last five goals, yet media reports have suggested the club could bring in another striker in the next transfer window.

Zidane, however, insisted that he is thrilled with his compatriot’s performances this term.

“He is playing a very good season, especially in terms of goals. In the end, he is a fantastic player and this year he has changed, which means more goals,” he told a news conference.

“He’s used to that, to the rumours that players are coming, but for him it does not change anything. He showed his personality and that’s it, he’s doing well for the team, he’s doing a lot of goals. I’m happy.”

However, one player who may well be heading for the Madrid exit door is Gareth Bale, who came on as a substitute with nine minutes remaining and left the field sharply at full-time, though Zidane defended the Welshman.

“You can ask every day and I’m going to answer you every day. He’s an important player in the squad, I do not know how many matches he’s played since I came in,” Zidane said.

“He played three games out of four, I think. Today I wanted to make a change and that’s it.

“In the end it’s like Lucas [Vazquez], playing 10-15 minutes is complicated for them, but the changes are made to change the game and we did not.”

Madrid sit in third place in the table, four points behind Atletico Madrid. They are next in action on Sunday when they face Athletic Bilbao.

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