Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is understood to be unimpressed with suggestions that he encouraged his teammates not to pass to winger Vinícius Júnior in Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The Frenchman appeared to be caught on camera telling Ferland Mendy not to pass to Vinícius in the second half, while Benzema did not play a single pass to the Brazilian after the break.
According to AS, sources close to Benzema have insisted that he never instructed his teammates to bypass Vinícius, and this is more a case of a discussion about a disappointing 45 minutes for the team being misinterpreted and taken out of context.
“Karim has been very good with Vinícius over the past two years, helping him to grow as a player and as a person within the club," the source said.
"It is not normal that now you fall for a recording in which the sounds are mixed and confused. That line to Mendy about not passing the ball to Vinícius is not Karim's."
ESPN add that club sources have dismissed the idea of a rift between Benzema and Vinícius. Real have pointed to the lack of clear evidence in the video of the incident and questioned why Benzema would bad-mouth his teammate when the winger was standing next to him.
Vinícius himself is not thought to be concerned and agrees with the suggestion that the comments were not aimed at him.
Nevertheless, this incident has highlighted Benzema's frustration of playing alongside Vinícius. Many in the Real dressing room are believed to have concerns about the Brazilian's decision-making in the final third, and Benzema's behaviour on the pitch suggests he is one of those.
His frustrations are seen as being 'less and less disguised', and the fact that he did not pass the ball to Vinícius in the winger's 25 second-half minutes has been taken as evidence of that. For comparison, Benzema passed to Vinícius' replacement, Eden Hazard, five times in 20 minutes.
It's worth noting that Benzema has taken an active interest in helping Vinícius since his arrival at the Santiago Bernabéu. The pair's relationship has been described as 'father and son', but there are suggestions that cracks may be beginning to form.