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Now I have changed”- Karim Benzema opens up about his iconic Ronaldo partnership

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are kidding after each of them scores one penalty during the UEFA European Championship 2020 football match between Portugal and France at Stadium Puskas Ferenc on June 23, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ronaldo and Benzema both joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 and went on to become hugely successful teammates as well as very good friends.

The Real Madrid player Karim Benzema (L) poses with Ronaldo (R) on the pitch of the Bernabeu Stadium on September 29, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. (Getty Image)

Of all the players Cristiano Ronaldo has shared the pitch with, Karim Benzema is one of the few CR7 shared a special relationship with.

The striker said when asked who his best teammates were: “Cristiano [Ronaldo], Mesut Ozil, Juninho, Fred [in Lyon] and Zizou [Zinedine Zidane] in training too. Technical players. That’s football, you make the call, the ball comes, you give the ball to him, he gives it to you.”

Mesut Ozil, Karin Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (Getty Images)

The Frenchman’s relationship with the Portuguese forward was a key part of a successful era for Real Madrid.The highlight of this was Los Blancos winning three straight Champions League trophies between 2016 and 2018.

 (Getty Images)

Karim Benzema played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo over the course of nine seasons but he has explained how his style of play has changed since the Portuguese’s exit.

Since Ronaldo’s exit in 2018, Benzema has been Real Madrid’s target guy to rely on for goals. His stats are excellent.

This season alone, he has racked up 23 goals and nine assists in 26 games across all competitions

Yet, in an interview with France Football, Benzema insisted his game was never comprised to suit Ronaldo when discussing the role he had alongside the Portuguese icon.

Benzema told France Football, as per Marca :”When he played for Real Madrid he scored between 50 and 60 goals a season.

“So you have to adapt to this reality. I had to move more on the pitch, give him space.

“It [the role] wasn’t a deputy, it wasn’t that,” said the 34-year-old.

“I didn’t say to myself: ‘Ah, I have to give him the ball all the time’. I was playing well but he was scoring twice [each game]. It’s the truth, you can’t do anything about it.

“He didn’t stop me from being the best version of myself. We won a lot of games, I had a lot of fun. To think like that is to be too individual “I won it all with him.The Champions League, many championships, we scored I don’t know how many goals, we were part of the magic trio with [Gareth] Bale, there were a lot of very good moments and I don’t see any bad ones.”

Cristiano Ronaldo (2ndL) of Real Madrid CF holds the trophy as he poses for a picture with his teammates Karim Benzema (R) and Gareth Bale (L) during the celebration with their fans at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (Getty Images)

 

 

What has now changed? 

Karim Benzema was recently awarded the French Player of the Year award and finished fourth on the Ballon d’or nomination ahead of former teammate – Cristiano Ronaldo.

“When Cristiano Ronaldo was at the club, I was more the one who created more goals and he the one who finished but now I have changed.

When he left, what changed was that it was my turn to take over; to score goals and to provide assists to my other teammates. I’ve taken over in my own way and it’s going well.”

Ronaldo joined Juventus three-and-a-half years ago in a move that saw Benzema transformed into the main man in the attack for Los Blancs.

Having netted just 12 times in the 2017/18 campaign – Ronaldo’s last season in Madrid – he has netted 110 goals since and is currently on course for his best goal scoring season.

Benzema has scored 23 goals in 26 appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season – just nine goals short of his best ever goal scoring campaign, which was achieved in 2011/12.

The French striker was keen to stress that he is not the same type of player as Ronaldo, who netted over 100 goals across his three seasons at Juventus before joining Manchester United this summer.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are kidding after each of them scores twice  during the UEFA European Championship 2020 football match between Portugal and France (Getty Images)

“I don’t play like Cristiano Ronaldo and he doesn’t play like Karim Benzema,” added the 33-year-old.

The Los Blancos star Karim Benzema has just scored his 302nd goal against Barcelona in the Spanish Supercopa semi-final in Riyadh on Wednesday and  he’s strong contender for LA Liga highest goal scorer award this season including the 2022 Ballon d’or.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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