Real Madrid not targeting another striker, Benitez says

Reuters , Saturday 22 Aug 2015

Rafael Benítez says Liverpool will have an '80%' chance of the title if they are top of the Premier League after Christmas. Photograph: Simon Dawson (AP)

Real Madrid are not planning to bring in another striker before the transfer window closes at the end of the month and have full confidence in France forward Karim Benzema, coach Rafa Benitez said on Saturday.

Real begin their latest La Liga campaign on Sunday at promoted Sporting Gijon, although Benzema is still recovering from injury and will miss the clash at the Molinon.

Benitez, who took over from the sacked Carlo Ancelotti at the end of last season, has set the Frenchman a target of 25 goals for the season, something he has not achieved since 2011-12 when he netted 31.

The 27-year-old, who joined from Olympique Lyon in 2009, only managed 14 last term partly due to injury and has regularly been targeted with whistles by some disgruntled Real fans.

Real have plenty of cover for Benzema, including Portugal forward and top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, Jese and B team teenager Borja Mayoral, Benitez said at a news conference.

"I have said many times that I am convinced Benzema is a great forward," added the former Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Napoli coach.

"That's why I set him a target of 25 goals to motivate him and so he can express himself.

"So we have a lot of attacking options and that's why right now we are not looking for a striker."

Ancelotti was discarded after Real failed to win the Champions League, La Liga or the King's Cup last term, with Benitez returning to the club where he was both a player and coach in the youth academy.

Real have brought in a number of new players in the close season, including Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic, Brazil fullback Danilo and goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

Spain keeper David De Gea is widely expected to join from Manchester United but Benitez declined to confirm whether a deal would happen.

"I think I have a great team and a great squad and as Real Madrid coach I am completely satisfied," he said when asked if the world's richest club by income planned any more business in the transfer market.

"We have to work with the players we have here to improve them a little more if possible and I am not planning anything beyond that."

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