Benzema: I am hungry again

PARIS - Karim Benzema has regained his motivation and is ready to help France's challenge at the World Cup, the Real Madrid forward said on Tuesday.

Last September, the former Olympique Lyon striker said he was not motivated to give his best when brought on as a substitute with 20 minutes to go in a World Cup qualifier against Romania.

With next month's World Cup finals looming, things have changed for Benzema, who has been struggling to settle in at Real Madrid since joining in an expensive move from Lyon during the close season.

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"I want to do everything I can for the French team," Benzema told French sports daily L'Equipe. "I am ready for the challenge."

Benzema said he is now ready to play even just a few minutes per game as a substitute at the June 11-July 11 finals if need be.

"Sometimes, I should have shaken myself up a bit," he said.

"When I got there (at Real), I had the passion and I realise now that I lost it a bit. But it's back now.

"I am hungry, even for five minutes, even for five seconds."

Benzema will know next Tuesday if he will make the trip to South Africa when coach Raymond Domenech unveils his 23-man squad for the World Cup, where France will take on the hosts, Mexico and Uruguay in Group A.

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