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Rio Ferdinand praises Karim Benzema for playing Cristiano Ronaldo even though he ‘knows within’

Karim Benzema has impressed for Real Madrid after stepping out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow and helping Carlo Ancelotti’s side fight for honor at home and in Europe

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Former England defender Rio Ferdinand has praised Karim Benzema for being willing to take a backseat Cristiano Ronaldo at real Madrid although he “knows inside that he’s the top man”.

France international Benzema joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 at the same time as Ronaldo. The pair spent nine seasons as teammates before Ronaldo joined Real Madrid juventus and then back to Manchester Unitedand has reinforced in the absence of his former colleague.

Benzema is the top scorer in La Liga and helped his club reach the La Liga quarter-finals Champions League with a sensational hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain. And that on a night in which the former Lyon player kept conceding goals ChelseaFerdinand could only say positive things about him.

“The fact that he has played as an understudy for Cristiano Ronaldo shows enormous humility,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “To be able to do that, to know that he’s the top man, he’s at the table, he can score goals, but he’s willing to take a step back to improve the team is a huge, huge quality.”

Benzema only scored 20 or more league goals in two of the nine seasons he spent in the same squad as Ronaldo. In the last of the nine, 2017-18, he didn’t even reach double digits.

However, in the last four seasons, Benzema has scored 20 or more goals each time. With 24 La Liga goals from 26 appearances this season, he is 10 times clear of the chasing pack and just one close to setting his personal record for the competition.

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Benzema and Ronaldo were teammates for nine years
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Ferdinand is aware of Ronaldo’s quality at the time having played with the Portuguese star Manchester United. However, his comments were echoed by his former England colleague Joe Cole.

“He was an opponent for Cristiano Ronaldo, rightly so, because Cristiano is one of the greatest of all time, but he played so great on the left attacking side and now he’s the center of attention, he’s showing how good he is,” said Cole . “He looks like he could score for a few more years.”

His colleague Steve McManaman meanwhile said that Benzema matures “like a fine wine”. “The duty is now on him to play every game well,” added the former Real Madrid midfielder. “He missed the Clasico and they were hammered, coming back for Celta Vigo and scoring two goals at the weekend.”

Not only has Benzema surpassed the 300-goal mark for Real Madrid this season, but he has also rediscovered his goalscoring abilities at international level since his return to the French team in 2021. and was on target in the Nations League semi-finals and final as France lifted the trophy in October.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/benzema-ronaldo-praise-ferdinand-madrid-26652826 Rio Ferdinand praises Karim Benzema for playing Cristiano Ronaldo even though he 'knows within'

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