Why Benzema is too important to leave Real Madrid this season

As the old saying goes, you don't realise how good you've got it until it's gone. That's exactly the cliché that hit Real Madrid against Sporting Gijon, and it's the one that'll continue to hit them should Karim Benzema be absent. Seen typically as the attacking support act to the main event of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, Benzema's importance to Los Merengues' tactical harmony and positional diversity was made abundantly clear in his injury-induced exile. Manager Rafa Benitez tried to improvise by playing Jese up top, with Bale, Ronaldo and Isco in support, but to say the approach was offensively impotent is an understatement.

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