Karim Benzema has revealed he took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo when the pair played together at Real Madrid.
The 34-year-old Frenchman enjoyed a stellar 2021/22 for Los Blancos, scoring 44 goals in 46 appearances across all competitions as the club won La Liga in convincing fashion and secured their 14th European crown after beating Liverpool in the Champions League final.
Carlo Ancelotti was the brains behind the operation, but Benzema was the talismanic force pulling the attacking strings, scoring 10 goals in the knockouts and almost single-handedly producing comeback wins over Chelsea, PSG and Manchester City.
Such has been Benzema’s form in 2021/22, in which he also scored in the Nations League final back in October as France claimed the continental gong over Spain, that many are backing the veteran marksman to clinch this year’s Ballon d’Or.
|Karim Benzema favourite||4/11 with Paddy Power|
|Other contenders||Paddy Power|
|Virgil van Dijk||25/1|
|Kevin De Bruyne||33/1|
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Having been a key part of Real Madrid’s famous BBC attacking line alongside Gareth Bale and Ronaldo, the Frenchman has exploded since the Portuguese left the Bernabeu for Juventus in 2018, becoming the centrepiece of the club’s frontline.
This is the first season in his career in which he has cleared the 40-goal mark across all competitions, a figure Ronaldo regularly surpassed during his days in Madrid, and the Frenchman has now credited his Portuguese counterpart with his recent form.
“When I watched what he did, I tried to concentrate on his movements: the dribbling, the finishing, the passing, his ball handling, I dissected everything about him,” Benzema told Onze Mondial.
“But, then it’s impossible to achieve the same thing.
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“I still have a lot of things in my head. I want to win more titles, more Champions Leagues. And with the national team, the World Cup. That’s all I have as a dream.”
Benzema went on to reflect about his initials struggles at the Bernabeu after moving from Lyon in 2009, saying it was more of a cultural shock that hindered his first season.
“My first season, the first six months, were very difficult, as I was alone and I didn’t speak the language so everything was complicated,” Benzema said.
“I had arrived in a new world, with a new team, a different type of football. Luckily I didn’t give up.”