The Blancos were given a lifeline by the Frenchman’s audacious spot kick in their Champions League semi-final against the Premier League champions on Wednesday.
The Real Madrid midfielder Karim Benzema has explained why he took a high-risk Panenka penalty in their 4-3 loss to Manchester City.
Benzema scored twice in a thrilling match at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, including the all-important final goal of the game, which gives the Blancos genuine hope of a comeback in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
A chipped ball down the middle was delivered with steely nerves from inside the penalty area by the veteran forward, increasing his season total of goals to 41 in the process.
I’m interested in what Benzema had to say about his Panenka.
While Benzema failed to convert both of his penalty attempts in Real Madrid’s most recent Liga match against Osasuna, those failures did nothing to dent his self-belief or prevent him from stepping up again on Europe’s biggest stage.
When asked why he decided to try a Panenka against Manchester City, the 34-year-old replied to reporters after the game: “My mentality is that if you don’t take a penalty, you will never miss a penalty, and this is always true.
“That is all there is to it in terms of mental confidence. I have a lot of faith in myself, so I go ahead and do it, and everything turns out fine.”
It is Benzema’s “strong character” that Ancelotti praises.
After Benzema’s most recent performance, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti heaped praise on the Frenchman, who also revealed that he had been practising the new penalty technique ahead of the trip to Manchester United.
According to the Italian tactician, “I believe he changed because the last two penalties were not good.” “I wasn’t sure how he would shoot because he tried it in training. He chose this [Panenka] and performed admirably, displaying a strong sense of personality and character.
“It’s not easy to shoot a penalty like this in the Champions League semi-finals,” says the referee. “
Benzema will almost certainly lead the line for Real Madrid when they welcome Manchester City to the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg of the Champions League on May 4.