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Benzema staying positive despite goal drought

Thursday, October 10, 2013 by Fox Sports

France striker Karim Benzema is confident his goal drought for club and country is not the beginning stage of an irreversible career decline.

Benzema, who has struggled for Real Madrid recently and is without a goal for 15 matches with France, will be hoping for a chance against Australia in Friday's friendly at Parc des Princes.

The last time the 25-year-old hit the net for France was in their pre-Euro 2012 friendly win over Estonia, in June last year.

He would not be the first striker to have risen to prominence as a teenager to hit the buffers in his mid-twenties, but Benzema insists there is plenty more to come from him.

"It's a bit more difficult than in previous years. It's all part of the career of a footballer," he said.

"I have to keep working. I want to score and to be better.

"You go through these times. It happens that this is the longest of my young career. It's not going to last for another 10 years, I think that it will soon be over. I mustn't let myself get down. I must keep working hard and not let my head get polluted.

"I'm having chances, so it's up to me to convert them into goals."

The former Lyon forward frowned on suggestions his attitude could be behind his form slump.

"I do 10 kilometres per match, I get around a lot," he said. "It certainly isn't an attitude problem. When I go out there, it is to play football."

At France's Clairefontaine training base on Wednesday, Benzema was asked whether the form of Olivier Giroud was adding to the pressure on his shoulders. Giroud has been excellent for Arsenal this season and kept Benzema out of the team in France's last game, when they won 4-2 against Belarus in Gomel on September 10.

"He's a good striker and he's had some games," Benzema said. "It's good for him, his club and Les Bleus. We need it to continue. I'm not in a Giroud-Benzema duel. I don't look at things like that.

"We are a squad, there is no number one, two or three. Whether it's me or someone else, when a player is on the pitch they have to show that they can help the team to win."

Benzema accepts recent form means he has no right to selection against the Socceroos.
He added, according to the French federation website: "I'm a professional, I play for Les Bleus and if I'm called on it's good. If I'm on the bench, I'm supporting my team-mates to play a great game."

The St Etienne duo of goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier and 18-year-old defender Kurt Zouma were called up by France coach Didier Deschamps on Wednesday. Ruffier replaced the injured Mickael Landreau, with Zouma coming in to provide cover.

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