Bilbao’s Ander Capa had called Toni Kroos’ opener before Benzema hit twice late, coming home on a cross and clinically finishing in timeout after a sharp pass from Luka Modric.
Subsequently, Zidane, one of the Blues’ greatest players, did not hesitate to place his compatriot at the top of the list, ranking him higher than a list of forwards which includes their record scorer Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet , Kylian Mbappe, Jean-Pierre Papin Olivier Giroud and Just Fontaine.
“For me he is the best – it’s very clear,” said the winner of the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.
“He’s proven it – he’s played for Real Madrid for a very long time, he’s had over 500 appearances, all of his goals… his record, everything he’s accomplished here speaks for itself. ”
Benzema arrived at Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009, but was long eclipsed by Cristiano Ronaldo until the five-time Ballon d’Or winner transferred to Juventus in 2018.
On Saturday, the 32-year-old broke Roberto Carlos’ club record for most appearances by a non-Spanish player (529).
Benzema is also their top scorer this season with 10 goals in all competitions and Zidane said his game is still evolving.
“He’s a more mature player these days,” the 48-year-old said. “But he’s always shown he’s not a pure nine, he doesn’t just think about scoring.
“That’s why I love him so much, I love him, he doesn’t just think about goals. He’s involved in the game, if he needs to move on to a teammate he will. ”
Their fourth straight wins in all competitions put Zidane’s men tied on 26 points with Real Sociedad, who faced struggling Barcelona at Camp Nou yesterday, and rivals across town Atletico Madrid.
FRANCE MEDIA AGENCY