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20th Jul 2018

Karim Benzema could be set to leave Real Madrid and reunite with former manager

The player was coached by Ancelotti for two years at Real Madrid

Reuben Pinder

Carlo Ancelotti is a big fan

With Maurizio Sarri gone, and with him his unique style of football, Napoli will enter a transition period next season.

For the past two seasons, they have played with Dries Mertens as a striker, after Sarri converted him from a diminutive winger into a lethal number 9. But now, newly appointed manager Carlo Ancelotti is hoping to sign a more conventional number 9, and he has his eyes set on Karim Benzema, according to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.

Benzema played under Ancelotti for two years at Real Madrid and was a pivotal figure in Madrid’s success, as he has been since he joined in 2009.

Real Madrid president would reportedly demand €45m for the striker – a fair price for a 30-year-old who still has a few years left in him at the top level.

Top of Napoli’s list of strikers is Édinson Cavani, who played for the Serie A side between 2010 and 2013, but the Uruguayan is apparently demanding a €20m annual salary, almost four times what Benzema would ask for.

Cavani is also a year older than Benzema. So, ignoring the romantinc element of a Cavani return to the San Paolo, it appears to be a no brainer to pursue Benzema instead.

Benzema did suffer from a lack of goalscoring form last season, but at Real Madrid he was tasked with being a facilitator for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has now departed for Juventus. Spanish newspaper AS believe that despite Ronaldo’s departure, new Madrid manaher Julen Lopetegui has not guaranteed Benzema as many minutes on the field as he got under Zinedine Zidane.

Benzema moving to Napoli would see him come up against his former partner in crime, Cristiano Ronaldo, at least twice a season in Serie A. Although the matches between Napoli and Juventus next season are almost certain to carry less importance than they did last season.