Jamie Carragher has played down Karim Benzema’s explosive rant about Vinicius Junior during Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach – and admits he made similar comments about team-mates during his playing days with Liverpool.
Benzema cut a frustrated figure after Marcus Thuram put Gladbach in front against Real Madrid on Tuesday night and cameras in the tunnel picked up a conversation between the Frenchman and his fellow countryman Mendy at the halfway stage.
Zinedine Zidane’s men went on to rescue a point from the Champions League Group B clash, with Benzema and Casemiro scoring late on in Germany, but footage of the striker’s half-time display somewhat overshadowed the result and has led to further claims of unrest in the Madrid dressing room.
‘Don’t play with him (Vinicius),’ Benzema was heard saying to Madrid full-back Mendy.
‘On my mother’s life, he is playing against us.’
Benzema has received widespread criticism for his comments about Vinicius, largely due to the fact the Brazilian is just 20 years of age, but Carragher insists it’s a part of football that fans just aren’t used to seeing – and the forward was merely unfortunate to get ‘caught’ in the act.
‘In terms of what Benzema has done, that’s something I’ve said before,’ former Liverpool and England defender Carragher told CBS Sports.
‘And if I’ve said it about someone else, I can guarantee that someone has said it about me so he’s just been caught saying it.
‘Now there’s two sides to it. There’s one where you think you’re actually helping the team, which I think that is the case here. If someone’s having a really poor game, you’re almost having a go at the guy behind him, whether it’s a full-back, whether it’s a winger in front.
‘You say, “Use your brain, he’s not having the best of games, looking for something else. If he’s there then it’s obvious, give him the ball, but if he’s not play somewhere else, help him!”
‘He probably doesn’t want the ball if he’s having a really poor game. There’s a flip-side to it with Benzema and Vinicius being attacking players… if Benzema was doing that from a selfish point of view then that wouldn’t be right.
‘But in terms of someone having a poor game, that’s something I’ve said numerous times maybe at half-time, maybe in a training session. You’re saying to your goalkeeper when he’s throwing it out: “Go the other side, he’s struggling and having a tough time – go to the right-back, not the left-back!”
‘So it’s not something that doesn’t happen. He’s just been caught.’
Los Blancos will be desperate to get back to winning ways when they play host to Huesca this weekend before their much-anticipated return to Champions League football at home Inter Milan next Tuesday.