Gerard Houllier salutes "world class" Karim Benzema

France's forward Karim Benzema (front R) vies for the ball with Switzerland's midfielder Gokhan Inler on June 20, 2014
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Former France coach Gerard Houllier says that Karim Benzema is now among the world's best footballers.

Gerard Houllier has hailed the "world-class" abilities of France striker Karim Benzema for his performances at the World Cup thus far.

Benzema bagged a brace in Les Bleus' 3-0 win over Honduras, before recovering from a missed penalty against Switzerland to add his third of the competition later in the 5-2 victory.

The Real Madrid forward had previously gone 1,222 minutes without a goal for his country before ending the barren spell against Australia last October.

Now, the former France coach feels that the 26-year-old has kicked on and claims that he can be categorised with the world's elite players.

"He is always the scorer. But he has improved with his teammates," Houllier told Journal du Dimanche.

"He is now falling into the category of world-class players. Ronaldo, Messi, [Robin] Van Persie, [Arjen] Robben and [Luis] Suarez are perhaps a little above him.

"But he is younger. The goal against Australia has done him good. [Coach] Didier [Deschamps] played an important role during the period of drought, which all attackers go through."

Benzema and co face Ecuador in their final Group E game on Wednesday.

Moussa Sissoko of France celebrates scoring his team's fifth goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match against Switzerland on June 20, 2014
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