Karim Benzema has poured scorn on those who criticise Lionel Messi, claiming they "know nothing about football".
Real Madrid forward Benzema was a long-time rival of Messi's while the Argentine was at Barcelona, and also played in Ligue 1 - Messi's home since the summer with Paris Saint-Germain - with Lyon at the start of his career.
The Frenchman is therefore well-placed to offer an opinion on the legendary forward, and went into bat for him in an interview with French channel TF1.
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“How won’t he succeed [in France]?" Benzema said.
"It is just a period of adaptation, because he is not scoring a lot of goals.
"But watch what he does on the pitch.
"In any case you cannot criticise a player like that, he who criticises Messi, knows nothing about football in fact.”
Benzema will come up against Messi and France teammate Kylian Mbappe on February 15, with Real Madrid and PSG set to meet in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League at the Parc des Princes. The return leg will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 9.
Karim Benzema et Kylian Mbappé, les deux buteurs des Bleus en finale de Ligue des Nations
Image credit: Getty Images
"The game against PSG will not be easy at all," Benzema said.
"I would have preferred another opponent to be honest."
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