Premier League • England

Alan Shearer warns Chelsea that Real Madrid have Harry Kane likeness – but on much better level

Alan Shearer, football pundit

Alan Shearer has warned Chelsea that stopping Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will be like defending Harry Kane – but on another level.

The Blues face Los Blancos in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday. The two sides met at the semi-final stage last season, when Chelsea triumphed and progressed to a successful final.

Neither squad has changed much since the end of last term, but the circumstances around both clubs have.

Madrid are cruising to the La Liga title following their second-placed finish behind Atletico Madrid last season. Chelsea, meanwhile, have embedded Thomas Tuchel’s style after his new manager bounce led the Blues all the way in Europe last season.

As for both squads, both teams have many of the key players that featured in last campaign’s tie. Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante won UEFA’s Player of the Match award in both legs.

Meanwhile, Karim Benzema scored one of his 30 goals last term in the first leg. He has already hit 34 this season from 35 games and Shearer picked him out as Madrid’s obvious and biggest threat.

Indeed, the former Premier League striker picked out a trait Harry Kane has mastered in the Premier League that Benzema has been doing for years.

“It goes without saying that Chelsea’s main task in their Champions League quarter-final starting at Stamford Bridge tomorrow [Wednesday] is to stop him,” Shearer told The Athletic. “But that’s easier said than done.

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“A key part of Benzema’s game is his ability to come short, much as Harry Kane is doing so well at the moment.

“Kane’s getting the plaudits for doing it now, but Benzema’s been doing it for longer than he has.”

Tottenham striker Kane has formed a deadly partnership with the likes of Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski.

Benzema, meanwhile, has Vinicius Junior, Marco Asensio and Luka Modric for company in helping him score goals.

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Karim Benzema, Real Madrid v PSG March 2022

Shearer also picked out one of Benzema’s Champions League goals this season as a prime example of the 34-year-old’s threat.

“This time, Sheriff Tiraspol have got a midfielder on the edge of the penalty area,” the pundit said.

“Three or four defenders in there, too. Benzema’s in the D beyond the 18-yard box.

“He knows where the goal is, doesn’t have to look. It’s about finding space, taking a touch and then the finish — it’s unbelievable because the keeper’s expecting him to go to his left, I think.

“It’s one of those: don’t watch the eyes. He’s shaped it to go across, then cut it back.”

Benzema will be looking to add to his goal tally against a Chelsea side who are looking for an immediate response.

The Blues lost 4-1 to Brentford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in a shock result. They had the chances to score in the first half – and then get back on terms – after going 3-1 down.

However, they were not as clinical as the Bees, who scored with each vital opening.

Tuchel blamed Chelsea’s performance on the international break, but insisted that his side will recover.