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Real Madrid hat-trick hero Benzema almost didn't play against Chelsea as Ancelotti reveals he couldn't find his stadium pass

7:55 pm AEST 7/4/22
Karim Benzema, Real Madrid, Champions League 2021-22
The striker, who is ageing 'like wine', was in danger of missing out on the first leg of Los Blancos' Champions League victory

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that hat-trick hero Karim Benzema almost didn't play against Chelsea as he couldn't find his stadium pass.

Benzema was the man of the match at Stamford Bridge, his fine treble putting Los Blancos firmly in the driving seat ahead of the return leg of their Champions League tie with the Blues.

There was, however, a brief moment of panic that he might not have been able to feature.

What was said?

“Before the game, Benzema was not able to find his pass to enter into the stadium,” Ancelotti told Amazon Prime. “I told him: 'Be fast or you can't play!'. Luckily, Karim then found the pass.”

With 37 goals in all competitions this season, a personal best, Benzema is among the favourites to lift the Ballon d'Or – all in spite of his advancing years.

Ancelotti added on the 34-year-old: “Benzema is getting better every day, just like a fine wine. He's more of a leader every day, he feels more and more important in this team and in this squad. I think that's what makes the difference.

“He has so much more personality, he knows he's a very important player for us and he's an example for everyone.”

What next for Real?

With their 4-0 thumping on home soil to eternal rivals Barcelona in mid-March seemingly forgotten, the 13-time European champions take a 3-1 aggregate advantage back to the Santiago Bernabeu and look odds-on to progress to the semi-finals.

In La Liga, meanwhile, the Clasico drubbing appears to have done little to knock their confidence, with the Blancos still 12 points clear of Barca in second.

A team never to write off in the Champions League, the double is still on for Ancelotti's side.

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