Karim Benzema has confessed that he made sacrifices for former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to shine at Real Madrid.
The Frenchman is now the main man for the Los Blancos but it wasn’t so during Ronaldo’s time at the club before he moved to Juventus. Benzema’s selfless relationship with Ronaldo was a key part of Los Blancos’ successful era, winning three straight Champions League trophies between 2016 and 2018.
The feat saw Ronaldo crowned World Best Player four more times after he won one in his final season with Manchester United.
“He [Cristiano] was there to score goals, and I had to change the way I played for him, and put aside my own desire to score,” Benzema told Movistar’s Universo Valdano programme.
Benzema went on to reveal that Ronaldo Nazario de Lima is his idol and owe his success at Real Madrid to the Brazil legend. “Ronaldo was my idol from a young age,” he said. “I started watching football because of him.
“I looked at his movement and I tried to copy what he did. But there was no one like him, I looked up to him so much. Some players had his speed, but not the ball control and skill at the same time. People think he only scored goals, but he could do everything.
“Strikers need to know how to do a lot of things, not just score goals, and he was the perfect example. I learnt a lot from him and [current Real Madrid coach] Zinedine Zidane.”
He also hailed the impact of Zinedine Zidane to his career. “He [Zidane] helped me a lot on and off the pitch, since he’s been coach and also when he was Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant,” Benzema stated.
“He keeps us calm, and he doesn’t shout and scream when we score, or when we concede.”