Karim Benzema has credited Cristiano Ronaldo’s leaving Real Madrid four years ago with giving him the boost he needed to win his first Ballon d’Or award on Monday night.
To finish off a fantastic year, Karim Benzema won the first Ballon d’Or trophy of his professional career on Monday night and has acknowledged Cristiano Ronaldo as an influence.
The former Lyon striker, who is now 34, is in the best shape of his career after leading Los Blancos over PSG, Chelsea, and Man City to their 14th European championship.
After defeating Liverpool in the Champions League final, Carlo Ancelotti’s team won the championship.
Aitor Karanka, a former assistant coach for Real Madrid, predicted Benzema would win the Ballon d’Or earlier this year and explained: “The departure of Cristiano was a crucial moment for Karim.
When you don’t know him well, his body language can deceive you, but I was aware that he would succeed Cristiano as the team’s captain. Like a wonderful wine, he has matured well.
For his teammates, his mere presence on the field is crucial, and he is capable of taking home any individual honor.”
Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or awards. In just 438 first-team games for Real Madrid, the Portuguese forward netted a staggering 450 goals.
Benzema, whose 14-year Madrid career has produced 328 goals, is now second on the list of all-time leading scorers after passing Raul (323 goals) earlier this year.
Despite always being a prolific goal scorer, the Frenchman has improved since Ronaldo left and is now capable of leading the line.
Since Ronaldo joined Juventus in 2018, Benzema has had four of his best six scoring seasons; he scored just 12 goals in the 2017–18 season, but has since scored 30, 27, 30, and last season’s remarkable 44 goals.
Benzema spoke about Ronaldo on Monday night after receiving the award: “Being able to play with such a beast was an honor.
The desire to become a better player first appeared in my brain the day he left. I’ve been inspired to work harder on the field since he left.”
Benzema admitted in an interview with Onze Mondial earlier this year that he attentively observed Ronaldo’s games during their nine-year time in Spain and learned a few helpful tactics from him.
The Frenchman gave an explanation: “I attempted to comprehend everything he did while I was watching him, including the goals, shots, passes, and ball control.
I examined every aspect of Ronaldo. Since it is impossible to accomplish the same, I can state that.”
Between 2009 and 2018, Benzema and Ronaldo shared the field in the Spanish capital for nine years, with the Portuguese star generally playing centrally and Benzema on the right flank.