Carlo Ancelotti issues challenge to Karim Benzema after completing Real Madrid return

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Carlo Ancelotti has barely been back through the door five minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu but has already thrown down the gauntlet to star forward Karim Benzema.

The Italian coach shocked the world of football by turning his back on Everton after 18 months to take up a second spell in charge of Real Madrid.

It was an 'unexpected opportunity' Ancelotti could not pass up, along with the chance to rekindle his working relationship with Benzema.

The pair worked together previously during Ancelotti's last stint in the hot seat from 2013-15, though Benzema's role in the team was very different.

Karim Benzema has been tasked by Carlo Ancelotti to try and notch 50 goals next season
(Image: Getty Images)

Since then Cristiano Ronaldo has moved on, while Gareth Bale has become a peripheral figure at the club, leaving Benzema to take up the mantle as Madrid's main man.

Quite a fine job he's done of it too, scoring almost 90 goals over the past three seasons (30, 27, 30) – a significant raise on his tally from when he was playing more as provider for Ronaldo and co.

Benzema's goals were imperative to Madrid's title challenge last season and, while they fell just short, it was through no fault of their No.9's.

Now Ancelotti has immediately pinpointed Benzema as his key player, and according to Marca, has set him the target of scoring 50 goals next season.

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The Frenchman has never hit more than 32 in a single campaign for the Los Blancos, and his stats were considerably lower when playing under Ancelotti.

However, it appears his new manager is counting on him to be the focal point of Madrid's attack, similar to how Dominic Calvert-Lewin was at Everton.

Benzema has often been overlooked for major individual credit on the world stage, but Ancelotti wants him to boost his numbers to Ronaldo-like levels to help spearhead his new era at Madrid.

That seems to be his overall vision for his side, to increase their volume in front of goal across the board, yet despite links with numerous strikers this summer, Ancelotti has already dismissed the idea of new additions.

“The objective is to score goals but that’s not just [about] signing someone who scores 30; it’s looking for goals from wingers, midfielders. It’s putting in place a system and mentality that’s attacking," Ancelotti said at his press conference unveiling.

He even intends on pairing Benzema back up with Bale to form part of the strike force which won the Champions League under his watch in 2014.

"I think the squad is very good. There's a mix of players with experience – [Toni] Kroos, [Luka] Modric, [Sergio] Ramos, Bale, Benzema – and young players with quality: Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, [Federico] Valverde… the squad is big, we'll have to reduce it a bit.

"I think with this squad [we can compete]."

Meanwhile Benzema, 33, faces a busy summer ahead before joining back up with Madrid for pre-season, having been called back into the France squad for the first time in six years for Euro 2020.

How will Real Madrid fare with Ancelotti in charge next season? Have your say below.

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