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Karim Benzema snubs Cristiano Ronaldo claim in Ballon d’Or admission

Karim Benzema was asked where he ranked in the list of all-time Real Madrid greats after being named as the Ballon d’Or winner for this calendar year for the first time

Karim Benzema has rejected claims comparing him to former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo after the striker claimed his maiden Ballon d’Or crown this week.

The two were part of a fearsome attacking front three across nine seasons in the Spanish capital between 2009 and 2018 – when Ronaldo left the Spanish capital. The two won four Champions League crowns together at the club, while Ronaldo scooped four Ballon d’Or titles in that time.

Earlier this year, former Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, speaking to Mirror Football, tipped Benzema for the Ballon d’Or and explained the influence of Ronaldo’s exit on him: “The key moment for Karim was when Cristiano left. His body language can fool you when you do not know him, but I knew that he would replace Cristiano as the leader of that team. He has aged like a fine wine. His presence alone on the pitch is important for his teammates and he can win any individual award.”

Benzema netted an astonishing 44 goals for Los Blancos last season, including 15 in the Champions League, as a series of superstar performances helped eliminate Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool – arguably the club’s toughest possible run to lifting the trophy.

The Frenchman has now picked up five Champions League titles with the club and surpassed Raul Gonzalez as the club’s second-highest-ever scorer and is now behind only Ronaldo – whose astonishing 450 goals in 438 club appearances remains untouched – on the list of the club’s all-time record scorers.

However, Benzema has now rejected suggestions that he is comparable to Ronaldo and their former boss Zinedine Zidane in the status of all-time achievements as a player. “I am not above Zizou and Ronaldo, we are different,” the striker explained.

“They are role models and I cannot do what they did on the pitch, but they help me to try to do it. I will never be at the level of either of them. They have won the Ball of Oro and I just did it, but it’s difficult to reach their level.”

Adding to his Ballon d’Or success specifically, the striker said: “It has been my best season because, in the end, I have won the Ballon d’Or. I have been dreaming of it since I was a child. It has been the best season of my life.

“I have fulfilled the three dreams I had in my life: buying a house for my mother, signing for Real Madrid because it is the best club in the world and the third is the Ballon d’Or. I am very proud of my work.”

Benzema and Ronaldo played alongside each other in the Spanish capital for nine years between 2009 and 2018, when the Portuguese star primarily played centrally with Benzema on the right flank – before he moved centrally following Ronaldo’s departure.

Source: Mirror

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