Benzema laughed off Arsenal talk

Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has revealed has revealed he has never come close to joining Arsenal despite being linked with a move North London on several occasions over the past few years.

The France international, who joined Madrid from Olympique Lyonnais in a deal worth €35 million in the summer of 2009, was reportedly the Gunners’ No. 1 transfer target this past summer, but no deal materialised.

And Benzema has finally explained just how amused he has been regarding such speculation.

When asked if he had ever come close to swapping Madrid for Arsenal, Benzema told Journal du Dimanche: “Never. Like every summer, I laugh about it with my brother and my friends. We wait for the media to come out with these rumours.

“In my opinion, I think that Real and Barca are the pinnacle in football. Why I would leave? I’m a starter for the best club in the world. I am happy; it’s that simple.”

Benzema, priced at 80/1 to be the top goal-scorer in the UEFA Champions League in 2015/16, has scored seven goals in eight appearances in all competitions for Madrid this season.

Mancini hails Jovetic

FC Internazionale Milano manager Roberto Mancini has hailed Stevan Jovetic following the Montenegrin’s impressive performance against Italian champions Juventus on Sunday.

The Nerazzurri, with a win against the Bianconeri, could have ended the week at the top of the Serie A table after Napoli beat Fiorentina earlier in the day.

But despite a strong showing from Jovetic, the hosts were held by Juve, with Paul Pogba catching the eye for the visitors. 

“I thought the first half was his best performance in an Inter shirt so far, but he and everyone fell away in the second half because fatigue set in,” Mancini told Sky Sport Italia.

“We used the 4-2-3-1, as we did in the second half with Sampdoria [in a 1-1 draw].

“I was satisfied overall, it was a game of few chances, but I had some players back from international duty on Friday.

“We went a little too deep in the second half and struggled compared to the first.

“At the end of the day, such a tough and hard-fought match was good and I’m sure Juventus will be back challenging for the Scudetto within a couple of months.

“We are only one point off the top, so we’re in a good position. This year it will be a very difficult campaign for everyone, as every single match requires a battle, even ones that might’ve seemed easy in other terms. It’s a very balanced league.”

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