Football-Real Madrid coach Ancelotti compares Benzema to fine wine

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has compared his striker Karim Benzema to fine wine that gets better with age after the 34-year-old scored a hat-trick against Chelsea on Wednesday, putting the Spaniards in control of their quarter Champions League final. “He’s getting better and better, like wine,” Ancelotti told reporters when asked about Benzema’s performance against the reigning European champions.

“He is a player who is showing more and more leadership and who is more and more important for this team,” said the Italian. Benzema hit Chelsea with two fine headers in the 21st and 24th minutes before capitalizing on an error by goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to clinch his hat-trick early in the second half.

“He’s really complete, not just as a striker but as a player. Benzema scores a lot of goals and that’s really important but he also helps the team a lot in possession,” Ancelotti said. “We are really happy and lucky to have him.” The Italian, who led Chelsea to a league and cup double in 2009/10 as manager at Stamford Bridge, said Wednesday’s performance alongside him had been “incredible”, but stressed the meeting was far from over.

“I still think it will be difficult for us in the next game against them. For that, we are focused,” he said. (Writing by William Schomberg editing by Toby Davis)

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