PARIS (AP) — Karim Benzema made an unflattering comment about fellow forward Olivier Giroud, comparing himself to a Formula One car and his former France teammate to a go-kart.
Benzema has nearly 250 goals for Real Madrid and won four Champions League titles. He was holding a live chat session on his Instagram account on Sunday when someone asked him if Giroud, who has more than 200 goals in his entire professional career and won four FA Cups, was better than him.
“I'm going to respond to you and all of those who are watching, it won't take long. It won't take long, guys,” Benzema replied. “You can't confuse F1 with karting ... and I'm being kind.”
Benzema added: “I'm the F1. I'm talking in footballing terms." He conceded Giroud's work ethic helps France's other regular forwards Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé.
Benzema stood by his comments in another video posted on his Instagram account on Monday.
“I told the truth, quite simply. But people didn't retain when I spoke about what he brings to the France team," the 32-year-old Benzema said. "People just remembered when I said I was F1 and he was karting. That's what I think.”
Justifying himself further, Benzema placed himself below Cristiano Ronaldo — his former Madrid teammate who is at Juventus — in the same way.
“R9 (Ronaldo wore the No. 9 jersey in his first season with Madrid) is Formula One and I am karting," Benzema said. "That's the way it is.”
Several years ago, Benzema lost his place in the France side in the wake of his alleged involvement in an extortion scam over a sex tape involving then-France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
He has not played for Les Bleus since scoring twice in a 4-0 home win against Armenia in October 2015, taking his tally to 27 goals in 81 internationals. He lined up alongside Valbuena in that match.
After Benzema was dropped by Didier Deschamps, Giroud settled into the France side as its center forward. He helped France reach the European Championship final in 2016 and to win the World Cup in 2018, although he received some criticism for not scoring in that competition.
The 33-year-old Giroud needs two goals to tie Michel Platini on France's scoring list with 41, with only Thierry Henry ahead of them on 51.
At club level, Benzema's achievements tower over Giroud's modest success with Montpellier in France, and then Arsenal and Chelsea in England.
Benzema has won six league titles and three national cups with Lyon and Madrid, and four Club World Cups on the back of Madrid's Champions League victories.
He has netted 332 goals in 669 games, and his 64 Champions League goals are fourth all-time behind Raúl González, Lionel Messi and Ronaldo.
Giroud's club tally is 217 in 540. He won one league title with Montpellier, four FA Cups and the Europa League with Chelsea in 2019, finishing as the latter competition's leading scorer.
The hard-working Giroud has a moderately good English Premier League return of 80 goals in 229 games, but has always been well appreciated by fans for his team play.
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