Karim Benzema: “Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure allowed me to play a different role.”

Speaking in an honest and open interview with El País, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema discusses his connection with Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at Madrid, explains his relationship with Zinedine Zidane and much more.

Benzema arrived at Real Madrid in 2009 together with Cristiano Ronaldo when Florentino Pérez returned to the presidency of the Spanish giants. The Frenchman has great memories of sharing a dressing room with the Portuguese forward: “I was very happy with Cristiano”.

Post Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo left for Juventus in the summer of 2018 and Benzema had to change his role in the team: “The only thing I would say is that Cristiano’s departure allowed me to play a different role. He was scoring 50 or 60 goals a year and you had to adapt to his game. He is one of the best in the world.”

On Zidane

“He is an older brother to me. Off the field, he is always there to advise me.”

On growing up in France

Benzema grew up in a humble neighbourhood in Lyon, France, something that has influenced him greatly. “I come from a neighbourhood where things were difficult. When I saw older boys well dressed and with beautiful cars, what I wanted was to be like them.”

On Brazilian Ronaldo

“I have no idols, but I do have role models. In football, I would say that Ronaldo, the Brazilian, was a role model for me. I also admire Mike Tyson, because both he and I came from nothing.”

On racism

“It should never happen. It is disgusting, horrible and dirty. We are all the same,” he added.

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