Madrid’s bid for Haaland will depend on undisputed starter Benzema (AS)

Any move by Real Madrid to sign Erling Braut Haaland will hinge on long-serving forward Karim Benzema, who is an ‘undisputed starter’ at the club, according to reports from Spain.

Dortmund star Haaland has been making a huge impression since bursting onto the scene in recent years, with the teenager blitzing his way to 40 goals this season.

The biggest clubs in the world are now circling for Norweigan Haaland, and Madrid are certainly one of the interested parties, but Haaland arriving in the Spanish capital will depend on Benzema, AS claim.

The Frenchman is currently set to remain with Los Blancos until at least the end of his contract in 2022, and given how he has stepped up in quality since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club, it will be hard for manager Zinedine Zidane to shift him from the starting XI at present, the report says.

The report notes how Benzema has contributed to a much larger percentage of the team’s goals since the Portuguese star and former talisman left for Juventus in 2018.

He netted 24 per cent of their tally this season, with 30 per cent the previous campaign. In the previous two seasons, his goals only accounted for eight and ten per cent respectively.

Madrid must think over the prospect of parting with a big money sum to land Haaland and decide if he is the right fit for the club, it continues.

Signing Haaland would be ‘a problem for Zidane’, AS says, as he would have to adapt to a system that Benzema is already comfortable playing in.

Benzema is one of the longest serving players at Madrid, alongside Sergio Ramos and Marcelo, having been with the Spanish giants for 11 years.

Since joining from Lyon in 2009, he has written his name into club folklore by scoring 241 goals and winning everything in sight – including two LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies.

If Madrid don’t end up moving for Haaland he is sure to have plenty of suitors, with the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich all heavily linked to his signature.

The 19-year-old boasts 61 career goals already, and has made a lightning fast start to his career at Dortmund – finding the back of the net 12 times in his first 11 games.