When you gather the world's best soccer players onto your club as if they were a set of trading cards such as how Real Madrid does, there are bound to be position battles and controversies.
Before the 2016-17 season began, one such position was bound to be for their number "9," where they have a log jam of supreme talent, boo hoo. On one hand in France international Karim Benzema, who has been entrenched there since he came over in 2009 from Lyon and forms an intregal part of the BBC attacking trident for manager Zinedine Zidane. Eagerly awaiting is young Spanish international Alvaro Morata, who over the past couple years proved at Juventus that he is one of Europe's top strikers, even though he starts most matches on the bench for los blancos.
So far this year, despite seeing somewhat limited action, Morata is tied with Cristiano Ronaldo for the team lead for goals with seven scored in 15 appearances across all competitions. Four of those goals have come in his last three appearances, including a magnificent chip shot into goal against Alaves on Saturday. What's more, Morata proves to be clutch, often finding a way to get a key goal even in seemingly desperate moments, as proven with his late goal to seal Real's win over Athletic in domestic league play last weekend.
However Benzema's contributions are not always measured in goals, when he works he creates opportunities for the rest of the squad attacking downfield. He cleverly creates space for Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on the wings and is capable of making the right pass to set up other players. This is why Zidane has so much confidence in him, Benzema simply can impact a match in more ways than just goals.
Together they create a great one-two much up front, with their skillsets and styles complimenting each other perfectly so far. Although another factor that must be considered when betting on who will start is the corporate machine that is Real Madrid. It is easier to market an established force like a "BBC" than a brand new "BBM." And of course Florentino Perez has always favored international players over Spanish stars for those marketing reasons.
Though we should keep in mind Morata is scoring at the most frequent rate amongst his teammates, finding the back of the net every 90 minutes, compared to Benzema at every 174. It would be interesting however to see how Ronaldo and Bale's scoring rates would be affected if Morata were to be inserted into the starting XI more often.
Nonetheless, it should make for interesting debate.
Photo: Flickr/ Chris Dehr