French forward Andre-Pierre Gignac has claimed Karim Benzema is the ‘best No.9 in the world’.
The Real Madrid striker turned 31 earlier this season and in the eyes of many has been on the decline for the past several years.
In 2017-18, Benzema’s form took a real nosedive, with the Frenchman only netting five league goals all campaign.
This term, however, he has been much more impressive and has bagged 27 strikes in 49 appearances in all competitions.
For that reason, Gignac believes he is still among the world’s most clinical strikers.
The 33-year-old currently plays for Mexican side Tigres UANL, but knows all about Benzema from their days together in Ligue 1.
“In Toulouse, I was 23 years old and a rival [to the league’s best strikers],” Gignac told L’Equipe.
“I finished seven goals ahead of Karim Benzema, who was going to sign for Real Madrid at the time. It’s good for me because Karim remains the best ‘real’ number 9 in the world,” he added.
Gignac played for Lorient, Toulouse and Marsielle in France, before moving to Mexico in 2015, where he has claimed he is enjoying his football and has no immediate plans to leave the club.
“I’m a faithful boy,” he said. “I spent five years in Lorient, three in Toulouse, five in Marseille, and now almost four at Tigres. I identify with this club. When I feel good, I stay, except if it is to give a plus to my career.”
Gignac also played 36 times for France during his career and netted seven times for Les Bleus. He was a member of the squads for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2016 campaign, in which he played the 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the final.
During his time on the international stage, Gignac was a team-mate of Benzema, who himself has not represented the national team since 2015.
He has, however, enjoyed more success on the club scene since breaking into the Lyon squad in 2004, at the age of just 17.
In five years at the club he won the Ligue 1 title in every season before joining Real in 2009. In a decade at the Bernabeu, Benzema has scored over 200 goals, claimed a La Liga winners’ medal on two occasions and has won the Champions League four times.