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Benzema opens up about his iconic Ronaldo partnership

Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema
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The Frenchman opened up about his role alongside the Real Madrid legend during their time together in the Spanish capital

Karim Benzema insists he never played second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo during their glorious days together at Real Madrid.

In their nine years alongside each other, Benzema prioritized creating chances for Ronaldo. He often dropped deep to draw defenders to him and opened up space for his teammate. Perhaps his goal tally suffered, but the club benefited greatly as a result.

Since Ronaldo’s exit in 2018, Benzema has been Real Madrid’s go-to guy for the goals. His stats are excellent. This season alone, he has racked up 23 goals and nine assists in 26 games across all competitions.

‘Ronaldo didn’t stop me from being the best version of myself’

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.

“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.

“Since he left for Juve, I took over in my own way and it’s going well. I don’t play like Cristiano Ronaldo, and he doesn’t play like Karim Benzema.

“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.”

What did CR7 & Benzema achieve at Real Madrid?

The pair played alongside each other 342 times at the Spanish capital, winning 240 games (D57 L45). They won 15 trophies, including four Champions League titles and two La Liga crowns.

As for the stats, Ronaldo scored a club-record 450 goals in only 438 games for Real Madrid. He also chipped in 132 assists before his departure in 2018. Benzema, in comparison, has supplied 302 goals and 153 assists in 585 appearances.

Combined, the pair have made 1,037 goal contributions in 1,023 matches for the Spanish giants since 2009.