Benzema snubs United: My style is suited to Spain


Last updated at 21:59 29 February 2008

Europe's hottest young star,

Karim Benzema, told Sir

Alex Ferguson he will be leaving

Lyon in the near future — but not

for Manchester United.

Benzema is on Ferguson's list of

summer targets after helping

Lyon to the top of the French

League and scoring in the 1-1 draw

with United in the Champions

League last week.

But the France striker had bad news for Ferguson

and other suitors such as Chelsea

when he revealed he dislikes the

direct style of the Barclays

Premier League and would prefer

a move to Spain or Italy.

Benzema told Sportsmail: 'My

current deal with Lyon finishes in

June 2012 but if things keep moving on this good trajectory then I

believe I'll be sold at some stage.

'Like any professional, I think it's

great to progress. If we could win

the Champions League that would

be perfect, then I could leave with

a clear conscience. In recent

months my name has been linked to

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus

and now Manchester United have appeared.

'That is high praise and

I'm sure I'd be able to play in

England. But I believe my style is

perhaps better suited for Spain or

Italy. I want to experience new

tactics and systems. I don't want

to play that direct game all the


'The president of Lyon has insisted

I'm not for sale and has valued me

at 90million euros. That is


Wary Lyon have accused Ferguson

of trying to unsettle the 20-yearold

but the United boss sought to

play down the situation, saying:

'When you're asked about a

player, you give an honest

opinion. We said Benzema was a

good player, his team-mate

(Hatem) Ben Arfa is a good player,

Juninho's a good player and so on.'

Benzema looked ahead to Tuesday

night's Champions League return

leg by claiming that Lyon

deserved to win the first game.

He said: 'The 1-1 score was not just

and Carlos Tevez's goal in the last

minute was very painful for us.

The match in Manchester will be

difficult but Lyon have no fear.'

United travel to Fulham today in

the wake of last weekend's

drubbing of Newcastle and

leaders Arsenal's failure to win at


Asked if Arsenal conceding a late

goal and dropping two points

would prove pivotal, Ferguson

said: 'I don't know about all the

Arsenal players but I wouldn't like

to lose a last-minute goal myself.

'I still think points will be dropped.

It's inevitable. That's why I think

the games involving the top three

are going to be very important.

They could swing the title.'

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson

revealed Ferguson could have had

his job at Inter Milan in the

Nineties if he had wanted it.

Hodgson said: 'I'm pretty sure

before I went to Inter that he

could have had that job.

'In a chase between Hodgson and

Ferguson, I don't think there

would have been much doubt

where the choice would have

landed! But when you're at

Manchester United winning

trophies, you don't need to go to

Inter, Barcelona or Real Madrid.'

Fulham could be seven points

adrift of safety if other results go

against them and United beat

them at Craven Cottage.

But a defiant Hodgson said: 'We've

got to believe our own way of

playing is at least sufficiently good

to hang on to United's coat tails.

We won't throw in the towel.'

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